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HIMSS Compensation Survey Reveals Pay Raises, Benefits and the Pay Gap

Salary is an important consideration in the choice of a profession, and it’s one that could sway anyone considering the field of health informatics.

The most recent compensation survey by nonprofit health informatics organization HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) found an impressive average salary of $111,388. In addition, more than three-fourths of the 1,900 respondents reported receiving a pay raise within the previous year. Most received benefits such as health insurance (96% of respondents), dental insurance (95%), paid time off and a retirement savings plan (94%). Almost 90% also had life insurance.

Almost half of the respondents received bonuses.

The West Coast is the top region in terms of salary, according to the survey, with annual pay of $127,117, followed by the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, New England, Mountain, East South Central, East North Central, West North Central and West South Central.

Professionals working for consulting firms were the best paid. Their annual average salary of $140,971 was more than $20,000 above the next work environment’s average salary.

Professionals employed by for-profit private facilities had the largest annual salary, followed by those who worked at for-profit public, not-for-profit and government organizations.

The financial news for health IT professionals was uniformly good – but considerably better for men than women.

Average salary for male health IT professionals was $126,262 annually, while females drew an annual average salary of $100,762.

In fact, HIMSS survey data spanning 2006-2015 shows that the discrepancy has gotten steadily greater over time.

HIMSS Board Chair Denise Hines told Healthcare IT News that an up-to-date look at the salary gap is likely to be on the agenda at HIMSS18, the organization’s annual convention, March 5-9 in Las Vegas.

Hines has experienced that pay gap firsthand. She once worked for an organization that paid her $20,000 less than a male co-worker who did the same job. The rationale, Hines said, was that the male was the breadwinner for his family.

Part of reversing the pay gap trend is having more women in positions of leadership, Hines said. And women working at all levels must be assertive.

“We can’t be afraid to speak up and talk about our value,” Hines said. “We can’t be afraid to research and see that this type of position actually pays 50% over my current salary, versus the 10% I normally would have been happy with.”

Hines, who is African-American, believes it is essential for HIMSS to bring more women and minorities into the health IT field. To these ends Hines advocates for HIMSS programs specifically targeting and recognizing the contributions of women, as well as finding ways to introduce health informatics to students at traditionally black colleges and universities that don’t currently have health IT programs.

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