Tech-Savvy Practice Executives Critical

With increased health information technology adoption in the medical community, practice executives who are responsible for technology report a 7% salary increase.

With increased health information technology (HIT) adoption in the medical community, practice executives who are responsible for technology report a 7% salary increase, according to a new report.

The Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) 2013 Management Compensation Survey chief information officers (CIOs) and information system directors (ISDs) at medical groups reported that their median compensation increased by more than 7% since 2011, highlighting the health care industry’s increasing use of HIT.

“There are a variety of emerging technologies for medical practices, and many are exploring how to use these tools effectively,” Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACMPE, FACP, MGMA-ACMPE president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As practices are rapidly adding technologies that are increasingly complex and interwoven, having technology-focused staff in the practice is becoming even more necessary.”

The first annual HIMSS Workforce Survey recently found that 59% of health care providers expect to hire up to five new IT staff members in the next year. However, the issue that practices, hospitals and health care organizations are running into is that there is too much demand and not a big enough talent pool of experienced workers. Nearly 30% of health care provider organizations told HIMSS that they had to place an IT initiative on hold because of staff shortages.

“It’s critical that practices have the personnel in place to fully leverage sophisticated HIT tools and, subsequently, to analyze and utilize data they provide in a meaningful way, which could ultimately improve patient care and produce higher efficiencies,” Turney said.

Implementation of ICD-10 codes is one of the largest transitions CIOs and ISDs have confronted in decades, according to MGMA. An earlier report from MGMA revealed that just 4.8% of physician practices have made significant progress in preparing for the change to ICD-10 — which is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2014.

“With the transition to ICD-10 being extremely costly and challenging for medical groups, a well-trained CIO and ISD will be a critical component to success,” Turney said. “Our Association continues to arm practices with the knowledge, tools and resources to minimize the potential of significant cash flow disruption following the compliance date.”