2006 PACS Administrator Salary Survey

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hiit040407.jpgA snapshot look at the numbers

There’s lots of good news for PACS administrators these days. Their position is solid, essential to the radiology departmen —and now even enterprise-wide image access—and salaries are growing. This year’s PACS administrator salary survey brought input from 771 respondents (wow, we thought that was a lot too!) who have the title of PACS administrator. One-third of these folks earn between $60,000 and $75,000 and more have received vendor training than any other kind of specialized PACS-related education. The largest group of respondents work at a hospital with 100-300 beds and are responsible for PACS at one facility. The largest group work in the Midwest and received a raise of 1 to 3 percent in 2005. More than half are a member of the purchasing team that acquired the current PACS and more than half are extremely or very satisfied with their current PACS vendor. PACS administrators are most likely to have their position budgeted by the radiology department and report to the chief or director of radiology. Most have been employed as a PACS administrator for 1-3 years and are between 30-35 years old or 40-45 years old.

The fine print

Health Imaging & IT posted the online survey of 42 questions from Jan. 10th through Feb. 3rd on our website healthimaging.com and solicited participation from a group of 2595 select subscribers (by title) from our web address database. In all, 771 respondents completed the survey and emailed it to us for tabulation. That’s a response rate of 30 percent. Duplicate and incomplete surveys were eliminated from the result

Survey says…

Most PACS administrators are earning $60,000 to $65,000, which also was last year’s largest category. This category has increased by 0.8 percentage points. Higher salary ranges have also increased over last year’s survey: the $65,000 to $70,000 range grew 1.1 percentage points to 11.3%, the $70,000 to $75,000 range grew 2.5 percentage points to 10.3%; and the $75,000-$80,000 range grew .9 percentage points to 8.9%.

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Your PACS Administrator Job Functions ranked by respondent priority
  • Day-to-day operation/maintenance of PACS
  • Maintain integrity of PACS security, training, trouble-shooting and problem follow-up
  • Plan, coordinate, implement upgrades of PACS (equipment and software)
  • Administer clinical operations of PACS, including user accounts, documentation of procedures, definition and implementation of failure recovery procedures, system enhancements and trouble calls
  • Coordinate installation of (new) PACS
  • Set up and supervise training on PACS (radiologists, technologists, technical support staff)
  • Coordinate special projects for PACS
  • Coordinate interactive/interface activities with vendors
  • Maintain productive, collaborative relationships with physicians, department managers and others in clinical leadership roles to achieve short- and long-term goals
  • Participate in the equipment buying team
  • Involved in purchase of PACS
  • Coordinate film digitizing and CD processing activities
  • Supervise PACS support personnel
  • Participate in coordinating, planning, training and implementing teleradiology system
  • Manage department operating budget (estimate future staff and equipment needs)
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A more in-depth look at the state of the PACS administrator

This year’s PACS administrator survey results lined up fairly closely with last year’s numbers

This year, 48 percent of survey respondents says their title is PACS administrator, followed by another 13 percent whose title is RIS/PACS manager. More than three-quarters (78 percent) are in charge of PACS operations and 57 percent run the operation on their own. Eleven percent are responsible for one FTE, 7 percent for 2 FTEs, and 5 percent for three FTEs. The majority (90 percent) provide on-call services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but 60 percent say they are not the only person to cover on-call duties. And although almost half say there is less than one other FTE PACS administrator employed at their organization, 91 percent say there are no PACS administrator positions currently unfilled.

PACS is not new to most survey respondents. One-third are currently evaluating or installing the first generation PACS for their facility. But 40 percent are upgrading their existing PACS. More than one-third (35 percent) are very satisfied with their current PACS vendor. Only 5 percent are dissatisfied.

Most survey respondents received a salary increase during 2005 — 39 percent got a 1-3 percent raise and 37 percent received 3-6 percent. Similar to last year, 20 percent reported a bonus of less than $5,000.

Most PACS administrators have a bachelors degree (44 percent), while 12 percent have earned a master’s degree and 25 percent have an associate’s degree. Some 84 percent have received vendor training and 58 percent have received independent PACS training. Respondents overwhelmingly believe that PACS certification would be beneficial to their career (72 percent).

A majority of PACS admins got their current job by working at their current facility. Another 21 percent found their job through networking with colleagues. And some news that may put radiology administrators at ease — 83 percent of PACS administrators said they do not plan to change jobs this year. Some 43 percent have been employed as a PACS administrator for 1 to 3 years and 20 percent for less than 1 year. Many appear to have logged extensive experience either in cardiology or radiology (22 percent have more than 20 years of experience in these fields); or in IT (25 percent have 3 to 6 years experience and another 30 percent have 6 to 12 years of experience).

As far as where PACS administrators work, 27 percent work in a hospital with 100 to 300 beds, 17 percent in a hospital with 300 to 500 beds and another 17 percent said a multi-hospital system or independent delivery network. By region, the most respondents live in the Midwest (25.6 percent), followed by the Northeast (22.4 percent), Southwest (16.5 percent) and the West (14.6 percent).

Most respondents said their facility logs 50,000 to 100,000 imaging studies annually (22 percent), followed by 100,000 to 150,000 (17.3 percent), 200,000 to 300,000 (13.4 percent), and 150,000 to 200,000 (12.6 percent). Some 38 percent work in a facility that is 90 to 100 percent filmless. Another 21 percent said their facility is 80 to 90 percent filmless, followed by 70 to 80 percent filmless (13.8 percent). And the PACS are most likely to share PACS images with RIS (71.3 percent), followed by teleradiology (51.7 percent), HIS (44.6 percent), and another PACS (37.4 percent).
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What percentage of your total healthcare organization is "filmless"?

90% to 100%

38.7%
80% to 90%21.0%
70% to 80%13.8%
60% to 70%6.6%
50% to 60%4.6%
40% to 50%3.0%
30% to 40%1.9%
20% to 30%1.9%
10% to 20%1.6%
Less than 10%4.3%
Unknown2.6%
Which image and information systems currently SHARE images with your PACS? (Select all that apply)

Critical Care/ICU/CCU Information System

16.8%
CVIS (cardiology)16.0%
EHR7.5%
EMR25.9%
HIS44.6%
LIS4.0%
Oncology Information System7.7%
PACS - Other37.4%
RIS71.3%
Surgical Information System8.1%
Teleradiology51.7%
Other (please specify)4.0%
What job titles are members of your PACS buying team? (Select all that apply)
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)31.9%
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)40.1%
Chief Information Officer (CIO)51.5%
Chief Operations Officer (COO)20.6%
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)14.4%
Chief or Director of Radiology74.3%
Chief or Director of Cardiology12.2%
Radiology Administrator67.7%
Cardiology Administrator10.6%
Chief Technologist23.4%
Director of Purchasing23.9%
Director/Manager IS/IT58.2%
Director/Manager Network16.2%
Director/Manager Technical Services9.3%
Director/Manager Clinical Engineering11.1%
Director of Facility/Plant6.2%
Other (please specify)7.8%
Which one of the following best describes the current status of your PACS?
Evaluating first PACS10.3%
Installing PACS - first-generation23.6%
Installing PACS - second-generation9.1%
Installing PACS - third-generation8.9%
Upgrading existing PACS39.7%
Evaluating replacement PACS - same vendor3.6%
Evaluating replacement PACS - different vendor4.8%
How satisfied are you with your current PACS vendor?
Extremely satisfied17.5%
Very satisfied35.1%
Satisfied32.8%
Somewhat satisfied9.2%
Dissatisfied5.4%
What was your salary increase during 2005?
None14.3%
1% to 3%39.0%
3% to 6%37.0%
6% to 9%5.7%
More than 9%4.0%
What bonus payment did you receive in 2005?
None73.1%
Less than $5,00020.2%
$5,0003.9%
$10,0001.8%
$15,0000.4%
$20,0000.4%
More than $25,0000.2%
What specialized training/certification have you received? (Select all that apply)
Vendor Training83.9%
Independent Training57.8%
AART QA3.9%
HIMSS CPHIT1.2%
AHRA Administrators6.0%
MCDST0.2%
MCSA4.1%
MCSE11.0%
MCDBA0.0%
MCAD0.2%
CompTIA A+10.3%
Other (please specify)12.8%
Do you think a certification in PACS would be beneficial to your career?
Yes72.4%
No27.6%
In which department is your position budgeted?
Cardiology1.6%
Clinical Engineering1.9%
IS/IT27.8%
Radiology62.7%
Technical Services3.7%
Other (please specify)2.3%
What is the title of the person you report to?
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)6.1%
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)0.8%
Chief Information Officer (CIO)5.9%
Chief Operations Officer (COO)2.7%
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)0.6%
Chief or Director of Radiology29.7%
Chief or Director of Cardiology1.2%
Radiology Administrator23.8%
Cardiology Administrator0.6%
Chief Technologist0.4%
Director/Manager IS/IT16.8%
Director/Manager Network0.4%
Director/Manager Technical Services2.7%
Director/Manager Clinical Engineering1.8%
Other (please specify)6.4%
How many FTEs are you responsible for?
None57.2%
111.7%
27.6%
35.3%
42.8%
56.2%
If more than 59.1%
How many other PACS Administrators are employed at your facility/facilities?
Less than 1 FTE49.4%
1 to 3 FTEs38.0%
3 to 6 FTEs8.5%
6 to 9 FTEs2.1%
9 or more FTEs1.9%
Are there currently unfilled PACS Administrator position(s) at your facility?
No90.9%
Yes9.1%
Do you provide on-call services?
Yes89.9%
No10.1%
Are you on-call 24/7?
Yes81.9%
No18.1%
Are you the only person on-call?
Yes40.8%
No59.2%
How did you find your current position?
Networking with colleagues20.9%
Online discussion group0.5%
Print advertisement2.5%
Recruiter5.4%
Web advertisement7.1%
Working at the facility59.1%
Other (please specify)4.4%
Do you plan to change jobs during 2006?
Yes17.1%
No82.9%
What was the title of your last position?
Chief Technologist14.1%
Technologist13.6%
Clinical Engineer1.7%
Radiology Engineer2.7%
Network Administrator8.9%
Systems Engineer7.4%
Support Specialist11.1%
Programmer2.0%
Field Engineer2.5%
Service Engineer2.2%
Technician1.2%
Other (please specify)32.6%
How many years have you been employed in your current position?
Less than 1 year18.0%
1 to 3 years44.6%
3 to 6 years24.7%
6 to 9 years5.7%
10 or more years7.0%
How many years have you been employed by your present employer?
Less than 1 year6.2%
1 to 3 years25.2%
3 to 6 years22.9%
6 to 9 years7.7%
9 to 12 years8.5%
12 to 15 years6.7%
15 to 20 years10.2%
More than 20 years12.5%
How many years of experience do you have in radiology or cardiology?
Less than 1 year6.3%
1 to 3 years14.6%
3 to 6 years15.9%
6 to 9 years7.3%
9 to 12 years10.1%
12 to 15 years9.1%
15 to 20 years14.4%
More than 20 years22.2%
How many years of experience do you have in IS/IT?
Less than 1 year9.0%
1 to 3 years17.8%
3 to 6 years24.6%
6 to 9 years18.5%
9 to 12 years12.3%
12 to 15 years7.5%
15 to 20 years4.3%
More than 20 years6.0%