Study: Health IT professionals earning healthy salaries

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Seventy-five percent of healthcare information technology (IT) professionals received raises in 2003 that averaged 4.8 percent, 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 more than $5,000 from the average salary of $91,268 reported in the 2002 survey.

HIMSS administered the survey online from March 31 to May 31, with invitations sent to HIMSS members and other healthcare IT professionals. Survey results were based on 1,352 responses. Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Men received higher raises (at 5.1 percent) than women (at 4.4 percent).

  • Raises among respondents at consulting firms (at 7.4 percent) and for senior managers (at 6 percent) topped the demographic categories of organization and position.
  • 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 system are least likely to report receiving a bonus.

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

In addition, 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:

  • 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 received the highest average salary in 2004 at $137,705, with CEOs averaging almost $200,000 in compensation. On the other hand, 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.
  • Annual net revenue of organization: Individuals who work for organizations with larger, versus smaller, annual net revenues earn higher average salaries. 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.