For the fourth year, Gartner has worked with AMDIS on a survey of its members and other physician practitioners of applied medical informatics. Physicians were invited to participate via the AMDIS listserv, and chief information officers participating in a separate survey through the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives were asked to encourage their physician IT leaders to participate.
In total, 97 physicians responded this year. More than half, 55%, reported they go by the title of chief medical informatics officer, another 20% were chief medical information officers. (For simplicity, well refer to all survey respondents as CMIOs.) A solid majority of respondents were from larger hospitals and multiple-hospital healthcare organizations, with 39% from organizations of 201 to 600 beds and 21% from organizations of 601 to 1,000 beds.
Despite the relatively large size of their organizations, 58% of CMIOs and their peers who took the survey reported their informatics duties were part-time while 42% indicated medical informatics was their full-time job. An even larger percentage, 79% of respondents, reported that they still see patients.
A major industry trend, Shaffer said, is that large and growing healthcare organizationsabout half of U.S. hospitals are now part of the top 200 healthcare systemswill be leveraging their size not only for purchasing power but also in the search for what Shaffer describes as systemness and the organizational agility to adroitly change. Physician informaticists will be key leaders of that change.
Job satisfaction is high among CMIOs and other informatics leaders surveyed. An increasing number have survived initial system installations and can see light at the end of the tunnel and no longer worry its an oncoming train, Shaffer said.
In 2008, the CMIOs can see a path through automation, Shaffer said. Some of them have done it and others are working their way through. They are optimistic this year. This can be done. Were moving ahead. We can get physician order entry. We can get an electronic medical record. These people and the organizations, many of them are organizing for and changing their procedures for the future state. The future state looks at the computer-based patient records as the end point of one phase and the beginning of another."
More CMIOs (and their peers) surveyed, 42%, report to their organizations chief information officer than directly to its chief executive or chief operating officer, 20%, or the chief medical officer, 15%. But 47% of survey participants would rather report to their CEO/COO, with another 29% wishing to report to their CMO and just 13% to their CIO.
They want to report to power, Shaffer said, with those reporting to the CIO or CMO saying that they need to go around them. They wont take up the big issues for me, she said. Still, Shaffer said. We have predicted the CMO will win out as the natural reporting authority for CMIOs and their peers over time.
About 87% of respondents are in their first job as a CMIO or an equivalent title, with 16% having been at the job for a year or less, 28% for one to two years and 30% for three to five years. Only 40% of survey respondents have team members reporting to them, while 60% did not.
Nearly half wanted to stay in their current CMIO position, 49%, while 16% wanted another CMIO post elsewhere. Another 8% have higher ambitions and are aiming to be a CEO or COO. No respondents indicated they want to return to medical practice exclusively, a result consistent over the four years of surveys, Shaffer said.
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