CAST Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Technology at LeadingAge, Majd Alwan, Ph.D., was quoted in a recent Senior Housing News article on the benefits of hiring a Chief Information Officer.

Alwan discussed the implications of the recent LeadingAge Ziegler 150 survey, which found that among nonprofit senior living organizations, the second most commonly added position in 2015 was that of Chief Information Officer (CIO).

“The CIO is crucial for elevating the technology discussion to the C-suite, the executive level, the board level,” Alwan said in the Dec. 13, 2015, article, How Nonprofit Providers Are Powering Up the C-Suite. “They’re crucial to securing the right investment from the board and to ensuring that the infrastructure is ready for the different applications.”

Yet the industry is adjusting to the concept.

“The whole idea of CIO is new, in general, to post-acute care,” Alwan said. “Finally, the long-term, post-acute care sector realized they need to be thinking about data and technology.”

Alwan also said that some of the larger nonprofit organizations have employed a CIO for quite a while, as they have the size and the scale, he explains, to justify the cost. Yet smaller nonprofits may initially conclude that they cannot afford their own CIO or that their needs do not warrant one.

J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr., CEO of CAST Patron Westminster Canterbury at the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, Virginia, also quoted for the piece, seconded Alwan's thoughts.

“I came to the conclusion that hiring a CIO and bringing it back in-house was absolutely essential to remaining a pre-eminent retirement community in an age of electronic records of all sorts,” Unkle said. “The stakes were too high in having an outdated and unstable system.”

Read the full article, check out our previous relevant article, and/or see CAST’s Strategic Planning and Strategic IT Planning Initiative for more on the topic.