Chief medical information officers (CMIO), sometimes called directors of medical or health informatics, are a fairly new addition to the healthcare industry, but they are already in high demand, as the healthcare industry transitions to electronic medical records (EMR).
Federal mandates in recent years stipulated that all medical and healthcare providers that bill Medicaid and Medicare must prove “meaningful use” of EMR technology or face serious reimbursement penalties. The purpose of the mandate was twofold: to establish a nationwide electronic health records system that will improve patient outcomes and reduce medical costs, while simultaneously stimulating the U.S. economy.
Nationwide electronic health records (EHR) contain a more comprehensive network of patient histories than electronic medical records, which cover patient histories with just one provider. Fully interoperable EHRs remain a long-term project.
Chief Medical Information Officer Job Description
A CMIO’s duties may vary from one organization to the next. However, most CMIOs are practicing physicians or IT professionals with specialized training, and their responsibilities reflect their dual areas of expertise. On a regular basis, the average CMIO may:
- Evaluate an organization’s IT systems
- Design and apply EMR/EHR software and applications
- Convert and analyze data from EMR-certified professionals
- Insure quality of care across multiple information systems
- Leverage medical and health data to improve services and daily operations
- Train physicians and other medical professionals in IT systems and applications, especially EMR/EHR and computerized physician order entry (CPOE)
CMIOs, depending on their individual areas of expertise and training could also have the title of Health Informatics Director. Either of these roles may be responsible for conducting data analytics for research purposes and report findings to other executives, scholarly institutions, or even government agencies.
CMIO Salary Range
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), does not publish employment data on the health informatics subsector, the employment outlook for all healthcare occupations projects 16% growth from 2020 to 2030, an addition of about 2.6 million jobs.
For related occupations, the BLS projects a 32% growth rate in medical and health services managers positions and 11% growth rate for health information technologists positions between 2020 and 2030.* Both growth rates are greater than the average of 8% for all other occupations. While neither figure is directly representative of the market for CMIOs, they do attest to the surge in opportunities for qualified health IT candidates.
The salary of a Chief Medical Information Officer with a graduate degree in Health Informatics will vary based on a number of factors such as physical location, education, the type of healthcare facility and the exact scope of the job, for example.
According to the 2019 US Salary Survey Report by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) – a prominent professional organization in health IT – the average salary for a C-level senior executive is $97,140.*
CMIO Education and Training
Formerly, Chief Medical Information Officer candidates were required to present a bachelor’s degree in IT or a related field and possess significant experience in medicine, at minimum. Often, employers showed preference to candidates with advanced degrees, such as a master’s degree in health informatics. For those looking to transition into the field, USF Health also offers a Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics.
Many universities are also adding master’s degree programs in health informatics, which make an ideal investment for the IT professional ready to broaden his or her career prospects and transition into one of the fastest-growing fields in the country.
The survey also reports that CMIOs are enjoying greater involvement in organizational strategy, including capital expenditures. This trend is attributed to long-term relationships: The majority of respondents transitioned to CMIO status without seeking a new employer.
It would appear that the list of reasons for medical professionals to pursue careers in health informatics is growing almost as fast as the field itself. If you are interested in a career in this quickly emerging field, consider a certificate program or master’s degree in health informatics from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.
*National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Information provided is not intended to represent a complete list of hiring companies or job titles, and degree program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research on specific employment information.