Looking at job descriptions from organizations as varied as the University of Michigan and National Institute for Children’s Quality Health, some central qualifications and preferred skills and experience stand out.
Far from the technical know-how needed in an operating room, the CHO must bring business savvy to the role -- including
- excellent communication
- strategic thinking on a broad scale
- deep understanding of social issues
- sensitivity to diversity and inclusion
- awareness of new technologies
- an ability to influence and persuade others
- respect for basic business demands.
So while an ideal CHO may have a medical, nursing, or public health degree, organizations may prefer someone with a business background as well.
Again, a heavy patient load is not essential for the CHO role. Professors of medicine stand out as qualified candidates because of their ability to research and stay ahead of trends in medicine and population health. However, experience in emergency and crisis management are critical as well, as evidenced by the quick pivot many businesses had to make to keep people safe as COVID-19 emerged.
For many employees and employers around the globe, the workplace as we know it is changing. The CHO must look ahead and predict future challenges.
Leading physician Dr. David Angus was quoted in a statement about the importance of the CHO role, saying, “‘Health’ is your state today — it’s the lack of disease. I want companies to have a program where they think about their employees’ productivity and health every day.”
He wrote specifically about planning for the return of workers to offices and suggested some common-sense policies:
- pushing more stringent clean-desk policies to keep employees safer
- providing food to employees to reduce outside germs
- allowing more shift work to keep elevators from getting jammed at 8 a.m. every morning
These are the types of recommendations he expects CHOs to bring to attention of the rest of the C-suite. So, the CHO has to not just think ahead but think beyond traditional management fallbacks.
In addition, CHOs should research and recommend new technologies that enable employee and client health and safety. One such tool is a digital health platform, which gives individuals access to their health data. Some airlines and businesses are already requiring vaccination status information to enter their offices and/or premises. A digital health platform, such as Lumedic Connect, enables people to share only the data necessary.