Healthcare News & Insights

What do healthcare CIOs want from their employers?

As is the case with security professionals, top-notch health IT leaders are critical for hospitals as they begin relying more heavily on technology. What will it take to keep those people happy as demands on them increase? 

152152114Since the passage of the HITECH Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health IT leaders have had their work cut out for them. Hospital CIOs and other leaders have had to find ways to implement and manage new tech systems, often with tight budgets and small IT staffs.

And while workloads have increased rapidly, compensation for healthcare CIOs hasn’t necessary followed suit, according to a recent survey from executive recruiting firm SSi-SEARCH.

Over the past four years since the HITECH Act was passed, CIOs say their job has become more difficult and their responsibilities have increased, often by significant amounts. Close to half (44%) of the 178 health IT leaders surveyed said demands on their performance have increased between 25% and 50%, while 23% say their responsibilities have increased by 50% – 75%.

Healthcare CIO salaries have increased, as well, but more slowly — 38% of the respondents reported a salary increase of 10% or less over the past four years.

That’s led to a disappointing compensation package for many health IT leaders. A little over half (54%) said their pay was in line with their expectations, while 5% said they’re earning more than they expected. The rest said compensation failed to meet their expectations.

Key factors for recruiting and retention

Many hospitals face tough budgets all around, so they may not have room to pay their CIO a salary that’s in line with how complex the position has become.

But there are two other key factors that could increase healthcare IT leaders’ satisfaction with their jobs, according to SSi-SEARCH’s report:

  • More and better resources — including an adequate IT staff. When asked their greatest achievement, more than half said “rebuilding the IT department,” and 47% cited people skills as their most valuable asset. Unfortunately, many hospitals are understaffed in the IT department — a lack of personnel resources was the top frustration cited by survey respondents. However, there are steps organizations can take to recruit and retain better IT pros.
  • Greater involvement in decision making — A lack of strategic involvement with other executives was second most common frustration, cited by 24% of respondents.

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