Salaries grow for IT leaders in medical practices

Salaries for IT leader in medical practices have grown more than 7 percent since 2011, according to a new report from the Medical Group Management Association.

The report found that compensation for CIOs grew from $123,597 in 2011 to $132,898 in 2012, and for information systems directors from $91,319 to $100,308, according to an announcement. The study is based on responses from professionals in 1,350 medical practices.

"As practices are rapidly adding technologies that are increasingly complex and interwoven, having technology-focused staff in the practice is becoming even more necessary," MGMA President and CEO Susan Turney said in a statement.

Such IT pros are responsible for a range of projects and deadlines, including implementing electronic health records, setting up patient portals and helping to meet federal mandates, such as Meaningful Use and ICD-10.

The transition to ICD-10, in particular, is proving difficult for physician practices. Only 4.8 percent of more than 1,200 responding practices said they had made "significant" progress in implementing ICD-10, according to a study the association released in June.

As practices face the October 2014 conversion deadline, they will need staff devoted to upgrading or replacing EHR and practice management systems, training staff, and conducting testing with trading partners, the organization points out.

Though the Brookings Institution recently reported that healthcare hiring overall is fueling the economic recovery, filling IT positions remains difficult for many healthcare organizations. Thirty-one percent of respondents to a poll by HIMSS Analytics said they had put an IT project on hold because of staff shortages.

In addition to the difficulty in finding IT pros experienced with healthcare-specific technology, salaries pose another problem, according to InformationWeek. In its annual IT salary survey, the publication found healthcare lagging other industry sectors.

Healthcare showed no increase in median annual base pay at $83,000, compared with $87,000 for IT pros across all industries. However, healthcare IT managers received a slight boost in average base pay to $112,000, up from $109,000 in 2012, more than the industry average of $110,000.

To learn more:
- read the announcement

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