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Create a Culture Of Innovation

By Frank Jackson, Chief Information Officer HealthMarkets

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Frank Jackson, Chief Information Officer HealthMarkets

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

My biggest challenge is to execute on new initiatives that impact our top-line and bottom-line without being distracted by the complexity of the back office changes. We have plans in place to take advantage of this disruption but the challenge is remaining agile and learning from the market then adjusting. Implementing more customer-friendly processes is high on the list. I look forward to advances in cloud technology and mobile computing but worry that application and security technology vendors won’t keep up with the advances.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

In the health insurance industry, we are regulated by both states and national entities. These entities have a very important function of ensuring the customer is protected, but I would like to see regulatory and legal trends stay more current with technology so that the consumer can benefit more from these positive technology advances. I would like to see more advances to take advantage of mobile and other advanced technology.

Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen

I want to highlight two areas. One area is fraud and abuse detection which produces significant savings. Data and the use of advanced analytics are critical for identifying fraud patterns. The sophistication of fraud and abuse has increased significantly so we rely on software solutions to stay abreast. The second area of importance is the detailed data from consumer web site navigation which is very insightful in understanding product preferences, buying patterns, and usability improvements.

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organization-wide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the healthcare sector

The CIO role in supporting the organization-wide initiatives has changed. IT strategic planning has changed from “supporting” overall organizational-wide efforts to being a central component and enabler. The business strategy to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency must be dovetailed with the technology plan at the point of origination.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

The first trend would be the evolution of cloud technologies. Microsoft Azure and Amazon EC2 are examples of cloud platforms that are radically changing the technology platforms. These platforms facilitate agility. The second is social business. The way consumers are engaging products and each other through social media is changing the way we market products and gain insights.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

First, as a CIO, the need to translate the broad brush business ideas into actionable business architecture has also become an important role. Second, the ability to handle the complexity of health reform and the emerging markets is critical. The diverse skills and knowledge required to be successful has increased ranging from data, reform, mobile, cloud, security, to architecture. Lastly, the CIO role has transitioned from an internal focused perspective to external where the ultimate consumer is the focus.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs

Even though we work in a regulated industry, I would recommend CIO’s to create a culture of innovation. Cultivate this emphasis on innovation with your senior business team, IT team, and vendors. This is a great time to be a CIO in healthcare. Don’t let the complexity of health reform damper innovation.

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