July 17, 2024


The Internet Generation

Finding a new HHS CIO means navigating tricky waters

When the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Services commences wanting for a new CIO, the process guarantees to be a hard and distinctive 1, in accordance to Steve Nilsen, co-founder and standard supervisor of C-suite government look for organization CastLight Lookup.

Very last month, HHS CIO Jose Arrieta abruptly resigned from the posture he’d held for sixteen months and from his additional than 15 many years in federal assistance. He was the second know-how officer to leave HHS considering the fact that July. HHS named principal deputy CIO Perryn Ashmore as performing CIO and has not announced irrespective of whether it has begun a formal look for process.

Discovering Arrieta’s substitution will be a tricky journey for HHS, Nilsen reported. The section will have to navigate what has come to be a very politicized posture as tension between HHS and the Facilities for Disease Command and Prevention grew about the reporting of COVID-19 details. In July, healthcare facility-claimed details became readily available on the HHS Guard details system, changing a CDC system. Arrieta was at the rear of the launch of HHS Guard, a protected system for gathering and examining COVID-19 details.

In this Q&A, Nilsen talks about the legacy Arrieta leaves at the rear of. He also describes what HHS could be wanting for in a new CIO, which not only involves a strong checklist of expertise, but also the potential to be each politically savvy and apolitical at the exact same time.

Jose Arrieta was in the function of HHS CIO for a very little additional than a 12 months. What was he capable to execute in that time?

Steve NilsenSteve Nilsen

Steve Nilsen: I imagine Arrieta did a phenomenal work. It is the largest CIO work in the land, and he is a profession-extensive public servant. He will come from a procurement, supply chain track record and, to begin with, did not glance like the dude that would be the most dynamic and split new ground. But he confirmed that you can move quick and you can get items carried out inside of the section. He experienced some huge accomplishments in the shorter time he was there in conditions of utilizing blockchain in the procurement process, the HHS Guard system that he stood up quite rapidly.

Owing to the pandemic, a ton of hiring is having area virtually. Would that effect HHS’ CIO look for?

Nilsen: It can be carried out. I have positioned company leaders during this COVID time without the need of any physical confront-to-confront conversation. So it is attainable. Now, the federal authorities is maybe a very little bit additional resistant to generating a move like that. [The HHS CIO posture] is a quite large amount, so it would be one more obstacle to offer with, but it is attainable. It is really staying carried out every single day throughout the look for field for certain. We have all gone virtual.

What expertise would HHS be wanting for in its up coming CIO?

Nilsen: The obstacle right here is, of course, that so considerably [of the function] has been politicized. So, you happen to be wanting for someone with political savvy mainly because this is a political work irrespective of whether you like it or not. …. [Yet,] I imagine at this level, as surprising as this may possibly sound, [it is] someone who also has the potential to get the job done throughout the aisle, someone who’s not considered as a political appointee. Skillset is precedence No. one, but second is staying apolitical. I imagine that is essential for continuity. However the elections go, whoever will come in demands to remain onboard.

In conditions of track record, Arrieta confirmed that strong focus on procurement and supply chain can help you save a ton of income and improve performance. You you should not always require to have been a CIO for that — Arrieta experienced not held the title [formerly], but he has carried out the work. I also imagine someone who is strong in AI, someone who can continue the blockchain improvement and someone who understands cloud and security will be [supplied] large precedence heading forward. … The way the function is written, it is quite operational, it is not quite strategic. But I imagine Arrieta took that operational function and turned it into some thing strategic, which is actually an accomplishment. A diversity candidate would also be amazing. I imagine it ought to be a precedence and there is huge talent out there, so I hope the look for takes that into account.

What ought to candidates be wondering about if they are taking into consideration having on some thing like the HHS CIO function?

Nilsen: As I explain to all my C-amount candidates, because of diligence goes each approaches. You you should not want to get a posture just mainly because it is an fascinating and major function you want to get it mainly because you imagine you can be thriving. That because of diligence demands to transpire, especially in this situation, supplied that it is a federal authorities function, it has been relatively politicized, it is an election 12 months and we have a pandemic heading on. There’s a ton additional than staying the world’s most effective CIO that you require to take into account heading into this function and irrespective of whether you happen to be the ideal individual to be successful in the function.

Editor’s take note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.