Only slightly more than a third of members of the not-for-profit College of Healthcare Information Management Executives who participated in a recent survey reported that their healthcare organizations have a chief medical information officer, a percentage that has changed little in the past five years despite increased interest in clinical information technology systems.
The online survey concluded April 16 with 170 CHIME members responding. They represented organizations ranging from solo hospitals to one chain of 200 hospitals.
Just 34% of CHIME members said their organizations had a CMIO position, only slightly more than the 33% reported in a similar survey conducted in 2002 in which 151 members participated.
"We found it interesting that there was no change," said Anne Wizauer, director of communications for the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based association. "We've been hearing so much more about CMIOs, we thought there would be a jump."
Based on comments from CHIME members accompanying the survey this year, while a majority of organizations may not have a person in a position with the formal title of CMIO, the responsibilities often are met by someone working under another title, or, more commonly, in a position that is ad hoc and filled part-time by a physician with other duties, such as chief medical officer, or a job by another name, such as physician champion, physician consultant or information systems physician coordinator.
Of the 34% of respondents whose organizations have a CMIO, 60% said that individual reports to the chief information officer. In 23% of the cases, the CMIO reports to the chief medical officer while at 8% of the organizations, the CMIO reports to both the CIO and the CMO. In 17% of the organizations, the CMIO reports to another person with a different title.
While many of their organizations may be slow to hire a full-time CMIO, CHIME members recognize their value; 24% of CHIME members surveyed said the position was needed though it was not in place and another 19% indicated that the CMIO position was being considered for a future role in the organization, while only 23% responded that the position was not needed.
CHIME will host a one-day educational session on the evolving role of the CMIO on July 21 in San Diego.