While the rise of chief medical information officers has gotten the spotlight recently, chief nursing information officers also are becoming more common. A growing number of healthcare organizations are recruiting candidates for this position, Linda Hodges, vice president and leader of information technology search practice at executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, told Healthcare IT News.
Today, most institutions hiring CNIOs are academic medical centers or large integrated healthcare systems, Hodges said. But that could change as more healthcare systems recognize that they need IT experts with nursing experience to help lead their health IT implementation, which is largely carried out by nurses.
CNIOs currently make between $200,000 and $250,000 a year, according to Hodges.
She pointed out that, although it is taking time for CNIOs to gain acceptance, CMIOs went through a decade-long evolution before their role became widely accepted in the industry.
Recently, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized clinical informatics as a medical specialty. This means that CMIOs now are seen not only as important intermediaries between CIOs and physicians, but also are regarded as medical practitioners.
Meanwhile, nursing informatics also is being taught at an increasing number of nursing schools. Among the colleges offering degree programs in this field are the University of Maryland, Vanderbilt University and Duke University. According to Hodges, a CNIO candidate needs at least a master's degree and, in some cases, a Ph.D. in nursing informatics.