Health care organizations can gain great value from Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), yet, although there is growing awareness of the potential benefits associated with their use, results often fall far short of expectations. Each year, the “ICT in Health Care” Observatory – part of the Politecnico di Milano School of Management – outlines a profile of the role of ICT in the Italian health care industry, investigating current projects in terms of their impact on processes and organizations, implementation state of the art, governance models, and prospective pathways. The 2009 collaborative research process outlines the need for a change in the way health care CIOs approach technological and organizational evolutions. ICT departments lack vision, governance mechanisms, skilled resources, and top management commitment. This has led to a series of distortions in the innovation of Hospital Information Systems (HISs) and ICT departments themselves. Currently they are too concerned with day-to-day operations and delay comprehensive initiatives capable of leading to effective ICT-driven innovations. The paper points out the problems that health care organizations are tackling and how they are trying to solve them. The case of the Italian National Cancer Institute in Milan provides a valuable example of how a health care organization is developing its HIS.
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