The Role of Chief Medical Information Officer: Importance, Areas of Responsibility and Expertise


Thomas Paynea, Gil Kupermanb, Kevin Fickenscherc

a Departments of Medicine, Health Services and Medical Education & Biomedical Informatics,
University of Washington,Seattle, Washington, USA

b NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Dept. of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, New York, USA

c American Medical Informatics Association, Bethesda, MD, USA



The role of Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO), often Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) is more common, more prominent, and more challenging than ever because of growing reliance of the health care system information technology across the globe.  In the US, these changes are reflected in rapid growth of the role of CCIO, and availability for physicians of Board Certification in Clinical Informatics.  It is intended for those who find themselves adding informatics to their existing responsibilities--whether or not they are formally in a CCIO position--and those from all disciplines in graduate or fellowship training in informatics who intend to have operational informatics careers. This tutorial will review the CCIOs areas of responsibility, and provide an overview of the topics those in CCIO positions find useful to master to be successful in their role, including:  the architecture of clinical computing systems in medical centers; the realities of building HL7 interfaces; interface engines; maintaining a stable technical infrastructure; medical record regulatory requirements; providing ongoing user training and support; and what it takes to keep clinical computing systems continuously available.   We will also review the requirements and core content for subspecialty certification in Clinical Informatics in the United States, which serves as a guide to some of the subject matter CCIOs (and CMIOs in particular) should master.


Outline of topics

  • The importance and qualifications of the role of Chief Clinical Information Officer

  • Architecture of clinical computing systems

  • Know approaches and challenges to interfacing clinical computing systems

  • Appreciate importance and complexity of supporting hosts, networks, workstations, and other infrastructure required for dependable clinical computing system operations

  • Security of clinical computing systems

  • Understand options for training, successfully supporting clinician users during routine operations and downtimes

  • The core content of knowledge CCIOs should master, using Board Certification in Clinical Informatics in the US as an example.


Learning objective

  1. Understand the responsibilities and qualifications of the Chief Clinical Information Officers

  2. Be familiar with the body of knowledge CCIOs need for success in their role, including the strategic nature of and importance of health information technology, infrastructure supporting clinical computing systems in healthcare organizations, health IT standards, legal and regulatory structures surrounding clinical computing and electronic medical records, the implementation and operations of clinical computing systems, and methods to train and support clinical users of health IT.

  3. Understand the history, requirements, and content to be mastered to achieve subspecialty Board Certification in Clinical Informatics in the United States.


Target audience

Clinicians and healthcare leaders who wish to better understand the evolving role of CMIO; Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and those from other professional disciplines interested understanding the breadth of topics considered important for CCIOs to master to be successful in their role; Professional leaders who may be considering developing Board Certification in Clinical Informatics in their country.