HIMSS survey reports salary increases for health IT professionals

September 16, 2004

Seventy-five percent of healthcare information technology (IT) professionals received raises in 2003 that averaged 4.8%, according to respondents of the 2004 Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Compensation Survey. The average

Seventy-five percent of healthcare information technology (IT) professionals received raises in 2003 that averaged 4.8%, according to respondents of the 2004 Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Compensation Survey. The average salary for survey respondents was $96,568, an increase of just over $5,000 from the average salary of $91,268 reported in the 2002 survey.

"In today's marketplace, it is even more crucial for professionals in health information technology and management systems to understand the dynamics of their salaries and related benefits," said H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO.

Other key findings from survey include (all reported figures are as of Jan.1, 2004):
?Men received higher raises (at 5.1%) than women (at 4.4%) who responded to the survey. Raises among respondents at consulting firms (at 7.4%) and for senior managers (at 6.0%) topped the demographic categories of organization and position respectively.

?Respondents expected to receive their next raise in 12 months.

?Almost half of the respondents received a bonus in 2003.

?Respondents working for managed care and vendor/consulting organizations are most likely to receive bonuses while those individuals employed by either a stand-alone or multi-hospital systems are least likely to report receiving a bonus.

?Almost all respondents, or 98%, indicated that they received some level of benefits from their employer with a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement savings plan (94.5%), medical insurance (93.7%), and dental insurance (88.5%) ranked as the top three benefits.

HIMSS administered the survey online from March 31 through May 31, 2004 with invitations sent to HIMSS members and other healthcare IT professionals, who were invited to pass on the survey to others as appropriate in the organizations. A link to the survey also appeared on the home page of the HIMSS Web site. Survey results were based on 1,352 responses.

The survey reported the average salary among respondents based on six demographic variables: gender, professional level, number of years in current position, annual net revenue of the organization, facility type, and geographic region. Results appear in each of these categories separately, but combining the variables will more accurately assess an individual's compensation package.

Gender: The average salary for male respondents was about $23,000 higher than for female respondents to the survey with salaries averaging $106,587 for men and $83,346 for women.

Professional level: Senior management professionals in the survey received the highest average salary in 2004 at $137,705 with chief executive officers (CEOs) averaging almost $200,000 in compensation. At the other end of the salary scale, programmer analysts and systems administrators each have average salaries of less than $60,000.

Number of years in current position: Respondents who have held the same position for 15 to 19 years earn an average salary of $101,785, compared to a $101,560 average salary for those who have held the same position for more than 20 years. This equates to a gap of little more than $200.

Annual net revenue of organization: Individuals who work for organizations with larger, versus smaller, annual net revenues earn higher average salaries, in general. However, the survey results indicated that those in the under $5 million annual net revenue category make substantially more on average than some other groups.

Facility type: Consulting firms rank in the top spot, according to survey results, for an average salary of $116,696, followed by software/hardware firm at $103,702 and managed care/health insurance at $103, 634. The lowest average salary reported in this category was the ambulatory care physician office at $74,386.

Geographic region: New England reported the highest average salary at $105, 176, followed by the Mid-Atlantic at $103, 393 and Pacific at $100,507. Healthcare information technology professionals residing in the mountain region of the country reported the lowest in the category at $89, 856. Descriptions of the geographic regions identified in this portion of the survey follow below.

"Most of us want to feel that what we are being paid is fair both in terms of our position and the industry we work in," said Betsy S. Hersher and Linda B. Hodges in their book, Career Success in Healthcare Information Technology (HIMSS, 2004). The authors advise the health information technology and management systems professional to "educate yourself on the salary levels in your profession and in your region of the country."