AMDIS 2014: CMIOs paid more, but less satisfied with their roles

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OJAI, CALIF.--CMIOs are making more money than a year ago, and though satisfied with their roles, are slightly less so than in the past, according to the results of the 10th Annual AMDIS-Gartner survey examining the evolving role of the CMIO.

These were just a few of the results presented at last week’s Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems Physician-Computer Connection Symposium in Ojai, Calif., by Vi Shaffer, research vice president, healthcare, for Gartner.

There were 120 respondents to this year’s survey who reported an annual average compensation of $326,000—up from the average of $318,000 reported in 2013. Salaries ranged anywhere from $206,000 to $550,000, with most CMIOs clustered in the $250,000-$400,000 range.

While salaries have increased, CMIO satisfaction with their roles has declined slightly. “You are still satisfied, but 43 percent of you are somewhat satisfied,” said Shaffer. “In the early years of the study more than 50 percent of you were very satisfied. This is a change and a challenge.”

CMIOs also are feeling slightly less successful, she said, with 50 percent of respondents reporting they feel somewhat successful. Shaffer suggested that this could be tied to the fact that the CMIO is transitioning to a role in which he or she is managing the impact technology has on “value,” which means being for accountable for business results.

And while CMIOs are spending less time in clinical practice, 71 percent of respondents still practice medicine. Many CMIOs come from specialties like internal medicine and pediatrics—specialties she said that require the kind of team building, collaboration and communication skills needed for the position.

Shaffer also reported that there is an impressive level of interest in the new clinical informatics specialty among CMIOs, with 25 percent having already received certification and another 25 percent pursuing it. “For a first-year subspecialty, that is a pretty amazing track record,” she observed.

There also is much more movement in the field, she pointed out. Many fewer respondents are in their first CMIO position, compared to five years ago, which is both good and bad news, she said. “[CMIOs] are moving up to bigger organizations and larger roles, but there’s also a lot more unexpected turnover of CMIOs.”

And reporting relationships have changed, said Shaffer, with more CMIOs reporting to chief medical officers this year than last. As to whom CMIOs believe they should be reporting to, “you feel very strongly . . . that you shouldn’t be reporting to CIOs,” Shaffer said.

According to the survey, 34 percent of respondents believe the CMIO/CMO is the optimal reporting structure, while 34 percent recommend a dual reporting structure involving both CIOs and CMOs. Just 4 percent believe that CMIOs should report to CIOs.  On the other hand, CMIOs rate their relationships with CIOs as the second most important factor in their success, ranking only behind the level of commitment CMIOs get from executives regarding the value of IT.

This year’s survey also examined CMIOs perceptions of physician attitudes in a healthcare environment that is undergoing profound changes. Words the CMIOs used to describe physicians included “frustrated,” “overwhelmed,” “anxious,” “stressed,” “overworked,” “tired,” “resigned.”

With that in mind, Shaffer reported that CMIOs are trying to work on issues of usability and workflow to try to increase efficiency and save time, slow down the pace of change, and focus more on engaging the physician community.

While the role of the CMIO is becoming one that is increasingly challenging and more stressful, the survey shows “you want to be CMIOs,” Shaffer said.

Two-thirds of the respondents said they wanted to remain CMIOs rather than advance to some other executive position. Just four percent they wanted to become CIOs or CMOs, while some (14 percent) said they wanted to be a CMIO in a different organization or have their responsibilities expanded (33 percent). “It’s a pretty happy group,” she concluded.