Hospital CIO pay not keeping up with growing workload

Despite a major uptick in responsibilities since the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, hospital CIO compensation has not grown in kind, according to the results of a new survey published by St. Petersburg, Fla.-based healthcare recruiting firm SSi-Search.

For the survey--which polled 178 CIOs at community based hospitals, integrated delivery systems and academic medical centers-- 44 percent of respondents said that their duties increased between 25 and 50 percent over the past four years, while 23 percent said that their workload jumped by between 50 and 75 percent.

Salaries, however, have not kept pace. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said that the compensation annually has increased by 10 percent or less over the last four years.

"[HITECH and the Affordable Care Act] are arguably some of the greatest changes to impact modern healthcare in America, and both are dependent on technology," the survey's authors said. "The question is not what is changing, but rather how fast it is changing. This will greatly depend on how fast the IT team can get it done."

By comparison, a survey of hospital CIOs published earlier this year by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives found that close to 50 percent of respondents received, at most, a three percent raise to their base salary in the past year. According to that survey, CIOs earned, on average, $208,000 annually, with hospital size and reporting relationships being keys to pay earned.

According to the SSi-Search survey, CIOs earn $286,000 annually, on average. Survey respondents, however, were more frustrated by a lack of qualified resources.

"CIOs appear to excel at building teams, motivating teams [and] redesigning teams," the survey's authors said. "They are focused on getting the job done through outstanding teamwork. It follows that lack of qualified resources would be the greatest frustration."

To learn more:
- read the full survey (.pdf)