Nursing Informatics Survey Finds Growth-Especially in Pay

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Key Health Care IT Trends

The good news is that primary focus now seems to be squarely on improving the overall quality of health care and the reduction of human errors.

The role at the intersection of nursing and IT is growing in numbers and impact, according to the 2011 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey.


The federal stimulus package is funding programs to quickly train either health care workers or IT pros in the combined role, and in December I interviewed Julie Jacko, the lead at the University of Minnesota in a consortium that conducts one of the university-level training programs.The free tuition offered in that program makes it a pretty sweet deal. Selected community colleges are conducting training, too.


In the survey, 660 nurse informaticists were interviewed and the results compared with similar polls from 2004 and 2007. The American Nurses Association first recognized the career in 1992. Average salary among those polled this year was $98,703, up 17 percent from 2007, and 42 percent from 2004, reports InformationWeek. Boy, who else has been on that sort of a salary trajectory amid the recession?


Among the results:


  • When asked to name their primary job responsibility, 57 percent said systems implementation, versus 45 percent in 2007. Systems development followed at 53 percent, compared with 41 percent in the prior survey.
  • Of the types of systems being implemented, 77 percent said clinical documentation and 62 percent said electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR), which was not listed in the top three in 2007. Sixty percent also named computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and 58 percent named clinical information systems.
  • Almost one-third (30 percent) named the lack of integration and interoperability between health care IT systems as the biggest barrier to success in their jobs, while 26 percent said lack of financial resources. Lack of funding was the top answer in 2007.
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents have post-graduate degrees, compared to 52 percent in 2007.
  • Almost half (46 percent) have 16 years or more of clinical experience and another 20 percent had 11 to 15 years.
  • However, in all three surveys, the majority of respondents said they had received no formal training in informatics. Fifteen percent said they had received on-the-job training in informatics and 15 percent were taking an informatics course, either online or within their institution.
  • Thirty-seven percent had a job title related to informatics, up from 33 percent three years ago.
  • Fifty-two percent said they report to the IT department, 32 percent to nursing and 22 percent to administration. In 2007, 38 percent said they reported to the nursing department and 17 percent to administration.
  • Thirty-nine percent reported they have been nurse informaticists for 10 years or more, compared to 33 percent in 2007.