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Hospital CIO Challenges at CHIME13

For those who haven’t discovered my new EHR video website, you should go check it out now and sign up for it’s email list. I’ll be doing regular interviews with some of the top healthcare IT leaders in the country. I think many of you will enjoy it.

This week however, I knew I’d be at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum and so I decided to twist things up a little and have our very own Anne Zieger interview me about what I’d seen and heard at CHIME. We talk a lot about the challenges hospital CIOs face when it comes to meaningful use, ICD-10, HIEs and changing reimbursement. I think you’ll enjoy the insights that are shared. Enjoy the video embedded below (please excuse the poor lighting, but maybe that’s better since it’s me on camera).

Also, let us know if there are other people you’d like to see us interview. We’re always interested in hearing our readers/viewers thoughts on where we should take it.

October 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Survey: Healthcare CIOs Average $200K In Annual Base Salary

While numbers varied widely depending on organizational factors, healthcare CIOs earned an average base salary of $208,417 in 2012, according to a recent survey conducted by CHIME.

The survey, which drew responses from small, medium-sized, large and rural facilities, drew responses from 263 CIOs from late December 2012 and early January 2013.

Some key findings from the survey included the following:

Multi-hospital, academic medical center execs make more  The average base salary reported for multi-hospital system execs was $254,054. and the academic medical center CIOs reported an average $243,229 base salary.

Smaller-hospital CIOs make much less  Top IT execs at the smallest hospitals, CAHs with 25 beds or less, got an average base salary of $125,573. Execs at hospitals with fewer than 200 beds reported an average base salary of $150,956, or about 28 percent than the overall average, notes iHealthBeat.

Standalone execs make less  CIOs with stand-alone community hospitals also responded lower income than the average, at $178,786, roughly 14 percent less than the overall average.

*  Titles matter, a lot  Hospital leaders with the title of CIO had average base salaries of $199,890, about four percent less than the overall survey average, but when they had additional titles salaries went up starkly. CIOs who were also titled vice president had an average salary of $206,788, while those with CIO and executive vice president had an average salary of $310,326, or almost 49 percent over average.  Meanwhile directors of IS or IT averaged $128,193, or about 38 percent less than the survey average.

Reporting relationships count As iHealthBeat reports, salaries varied depending on who the CIO reports to in the organization.  The 44 percent of respondents who report to the CEO earned ann average of $217,170, or about 4 percent more than average.  Meanwhile, those reporting to the CFO earned an average base salary of $175,263, or 16 percent less than the average of salaries reported.

Few and small raises reported  Despite the huge amount on health IT execs’ plates, most survey respondents reported minimal  pay raises, with almost 75 percent saying that their base salaries increased by less than 5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

So, readers, how do these numbers look to you?  Do they reflect the realities of your institutions? And how about those low raises — think hospitals are risking losing critical talent by holding that line?

April 9, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Hospital EHR Device Integration

This week has been pretty crazy for me as I’ve been attending three conferences back to back. Plus, the conference in the middle is the 120,000 person CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. The healthcare section of CES has been growing like crazy. Those who had 10×10 booths last year now have 20×20 booths and the number of health IT related companies at CES has grown 20%.

As I’ve been browsing these ever growing booths about consumer health I’ve been smothered in various consumer focused devices. I’ve seen every sort of FDA cleared device including: Blood Pressure Cuffs, Scales, Dermascopes, Otoscopes, Pulse Oximeters, Stethoscopes, and Thermometers. The innovation with these devices is amazing. The integration with these devices and other device is amazing. The price point for these devices is dropping.

With all of this in mind, I’ve wondered why more hospitals aren’t taking a larger interest in what’s happening here. Not to mention why more hospital EHR vendors aren’t integrating with these devices as well. Someone asked me what’s the difference in these devices versus the ones that are being used in healthcare today. The obvious answer is price and brand recognition (trust). Although, they are all FDA cleared devices, so is there really a difference in the results? The FDA clearance process is quite rigorous. I don’t have the full answer to this question, so I’d love to hear from some hospital people and other device manufacturers to hear your view on it.

Maybe the answer is that hospitals are buying the big expensive devices because those are the devices that integrate with their hospital EHR system. If that’s the main reason, then we need more of the major hospital EHR vendors to start doing the medical device integration with these low cost alternatives. Imagine the cost savings.

The other side of the coin is hospitals deploying these devices to the patient. I’ve seen this in a few cases where the hospital wants to reduce readmissions. Although, it’s an interesting dance since it is largely under the purview of the primary care doctor. It’s always felt awkward that the hospital’s readmission issues are dependent on a group of doctors that don’t work in the hospital. Maybe this will change as hospitals buy up more doctors offices.

It’s an exciting time to see the devices coming to healthcare. I just wish I saw more hospitals and hospital EHRs involved in what’s happening. I wonder how many healthcare CIOs are seeing what’s happening and planning for it.

I predict 2013 will be the year of the consumer health device and I don’t think most hospitals or doctors are ready for it.

January 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Hospitals with EMRs, HIEs Serious About Cloud Possibilities

For a few years, the notion of cloud-based data sharing has been a least a bit controversial, with questions of security, control, throughput and the like slowing down adoption.  But it seems like those days may be coming to an end. A new survey by Harris Interactive for the Optum Institute found that more than half  of  CIO respondents plan to do some cloud investing.

According to the researchers, almost 60 percent of CIOs with both an HIE and EMR in place plan to invest in “cloud-based open systems.”  More specifically:

* 36 percent plan to use the cloud for both their EMR and HIE
* 12 percent plan to go cloud for their HIE only
* 11 percent plan to implement only cloud-based EMR technology

According to FierceHealthIT, top reasons for going cloud include access to additional apps, at 57 percent, and access to additional functionality, at 56 percent.

While it’s hard to tell whether the group selected by Harris is particularly savvy, it was interesting to hear that 71 percent of respondents participate in an HIE, and that almost two-thirds actually own the exchanges in question.  (OK, I take that back; HIE ownership does seem to me to suggest extra sophistication.)  On the other hand, according to the research firm, the HIEs in question are somewhat limited.

All told, these are interesting findings, though not incredibly surprising given that CIOs have to find a way to get interoperable under Meaningful Use Stage 2.  My question is whether the cloud implementations (especially security) will differ so much that they defeat the purpose. Let’s hope we don’t end up with another layer of opacity.

March 27, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Five Reasons To Be Thankful For Your EMR

‘Tis the time of year to count our blessings, and since we’re here to talk about EMRs, what better time to consider the blessings EMR adoption has brought us.

After all of the expense and time and training and politics and patches, it’s easy to forget why we bothered to bring an EMR on board. But let us not forget what we’ve gained:

1.  Vivid “disaster” stories to tell at health IT conventions. Sure, a lucky few hospitals have smoothly-running EMRs in place, but let’s face it, most are still struggling with integration issues, ugly interfaces, painful workflow transitions and edgy users. But that’s not as bad as it seems. Remember, you get a lot more street cred from making a lousy EMR run than you do for your flawless revenue cycle install.

2. Job security. OK, this isn’t a guarantee, but if your bosses are smart, they’ll be terrified to let you go if you’re the one who really understands the system. After all, if you go it won’t be pretty.  Sure, the CEO could call in the vendor or a consultant to make the EMR work, but a) it’ll cost a fortune and b) your hospital could lose data, violate HIPAA, crash the system or lose a critical interface to, say, labs or the pharmacy. If your CEO is smart he’ll be sending you flowers.

3. Impressing people with new acronyms.  Even before EMRs began rolling out, IT pros have relied on a huge list of acronyms to get our business done. With the advent of EMRs, and clinical data sharing generally, we’ve opened a huge storehouse of new acronyms.  Nothing impresses the ladies more than acronyms, boys — take it from me.

4. Popularity.  Without a doubt, you’re already used to calls from frantic users who don’t know how to use the software your hospital has so generously provided. Or at least you’re used to hearing about the crazy folks your staff has to handle. Now, with an EMR in place, users are far more dependent on your technical skill, wisdom and largesse.  Not only will clinicians seek your advice, they’ll hang on your every word, offer to TiVo old episodes of  The Office and pick up your dry cleaning. It’s good to be the king.

5. Sex appeal.  Now that you’re running the EMR everyone counts on, you’re a power player. You seem tanned and prosperous. Vendors buy you lunch. And thusly, your cool rating goes through the roof. Guys, did I mention that women love acronyms?  And women, you’re in the driver’s seat now; remember, there’s no aphrodisiac like power, and a woman who can pull your charting privileges is one to be feared.

November 23, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Did Epic Kiss Off A California Customer (And Try to Get Its CIO Fired)?

If Cerner, Siemens, GE, McKesson or Allscripts have ever tried the following, I’ve never heard about it. So before you complain that we’re turning this site into the “I Hate Epic Weekly,” consider the following. You tell me whether things are getting strange at Epic, at least if the following is true.

So, your editor was quietly, non-aggressively, not shotgunning for any vendor anywhere when I reviewed the search logs for this site yesterday. As I scanned the list of terms, I find “epic dumps california hospital” on the list.  Hmmm, I tell myself, maybe there’s a contract dispute involved? Why else would there be a nasty breakup? Why else would a vendor turn down a multi-million dollar contract?

Here, I’m going to do something I rarely do, which is to quote a large section of a post from the justifiably famous HIStalk.com rumor mill:

From Mavrikg41“Re: Epic. [hospital name omitted] was rejected by Epic in the evaluation process because Epic thought [CIO name omitted] was ‘going to get in the way of the success of the implementation.’ They called that out in the report to the hospital’s executives as to why Epic would not be a good fit at [hospital name omitted].”

Mr. HIStalk, who calls the rumor “unverified,” nonetheless seems pretty exercised — and seems to think the story may be true. His words:  ”It’s a vendor low blow to call out an hospital executive by name to his or her peers as an excuse for turning down their dozens of millions of dollars. Unless Epic is trying to get the CIO fired, why not just politely decline the business without naming names?”

And more from Mr. HIStalk: “Once the Epic train gets rolling in a given hospital, you don’t want to get in front of it since frontline executives seem happy let Epic 20-somethings tell them how to run their business (especially the IT part) instead of listening to their own vastly more experienced people.

I wish I thought this story was unlikely, but I don’t. It just makes too much sense. Senior execs are scared out of their wits by new technology, and doubtless prefer buying their advice from the Dogbert Consulting Company, i.e. Epic’s army of occupation.

By the way, if you look at employee stories from inside Epic , it becomes pretty clear who that hospital CIO was dealing with — mind-bogglingly competitive, relentless Type-A personalities, often proving themselves on their first real career assignment, inspired to push through bruising 70-hour workweeks by convincing themselves that they’re masters of the universe. Sound familiar?

August 29, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.