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Nursing Informatics Pros Seeing Growing Salaries, Opportunities

Posted on March 24, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger 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.

Here’s something I missed in the explosion of news around HIMSS17. According to a recent study released late last month by the organization, nurse informaticists are largely well-paid and satisfied with their jobs.

According to the American Nurses Association, nurse informaticists have broad responsibilities, including integrating data and supporting provider and patient decision-making. The job description continues evolve with health IT trends, and may vary from one institution to the other,but their work usually involves a mix of nursing science, health records management and information technology solutions.

As the job description has solidified, nursing informatics has begun to become a well-liked specialty. Eighty percent of respondents to the HIMSS study, the 2017 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey, reported being satisfied or highly satisfied with their careers, HIMSS found. This may be in part due to their pay, with almost half respondents telling researchers that they had a base salary of over $100,000. Not only that, 34 percent said they also got a bonus.

Meanwhile, highly-trained nursing informaticists did better still. Those who had gotten a nursing informatics certification or post-graduate degree took home higher salaries than those who hadn’t. With over half of those who had additional education made more than $100,000 a year, as opposed to 37 percent of those who didn’t, the trade group said.

In addition, nurse informaticists are advancing themselves to a striking degree, with over half of respondents having a post-graduate degree, often in informatics or nursing informatics, HIMSS reported. (Of this group, 57 percent had completed post-graduate degrees, and 29 percent had a master’s degree or PhD in informatics.)

Meanwhile, 41 percent of nurses are involved in a formal informatics program, and almost half had a certification. These efforts seem be paying off, with two-fifths of respondents reporting that they moved into a new position with more responsibility after they got certified.

As nurse informaticists grow, they are accumulating deeper levels of experience.  All told, 31 percent of respondents had more than 10 years of informatics experience, 36 percent had five to 10 years of experience – dwarfing the 24 percent that had just one to four years. One-third of respondents said they’d been in their current position for more than five years, and a majority of respondents reported having seven years plus of related experience.

While these nurses seem like they enjoy their careers, they are still facing some bureaucracy-related problems.  For example, when asked about their concerns, they rated a lack of administrative and staffing resources as the top barrier to their success.

Ongoing shifts in their reporting roles may also be leading to some dissatisfaction. While most respondents told HIMSS that they reported to the information systems or tech department of their organization, a growing number report to administrative or corporate headquarters. (On the other hand, one-third said that their organization has a senior nursing informatics executive or CNIO, which one would hope proves to offer extra support.)

Though the HIMSS summary doesn’t say so explicitly, it seems very likely that demand for nurse informaticists is outstripping supply, given the substantial salaries these experts can command. If your organization needs to recruit such a person, be prepared for some tough competition.

Are Healthcare Integration Engines Needed?

Posted on March 13, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In a perfect world, we might ask why health systems need to purchase an integration engine. The standards used by integration engines are pretty widespread and every EHR and Healthcare IT vendor uses that standard. Why then do we need an integration engine in the middle?

I’m sure there are a lot of reasons, but two reasons stand out the most to me are: integration costs and flavors of standards.

Integration Costs
It’s amazing how expensive it is to build integrations with EHR and other healthcare IT software. I still look back on the first lab interface integration I did. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was to do the integration and how the vendors were happy to nickle and dime you all along the way. Many of them look at it as a secondary business model.

While an integration engine can’t solve all these costs, if you have a large number of integrations, the integration engine can save you a lot of money. This includes the integration engine’s experience integrating with multiple vendors, but it also means you can often only pay your EHR vendor one time instead of getting charged for every integration.

Flavors of Standards
If you’ve ever managed an integration, you know how miserable it can be. Each side of the integration implements their own “flavor” of the standard (which makes no sense, but is reality) and that flavor can often change as the various software gets updated. It’s no fun to manage and often leads to interface downtime. You know the impact interface downtime can have on your providers who don’t understand the intricacies of an interface. No one likes something that previously just worked to stop working.

This is where integrations engines definitely shine. Their whole job is to manage these types of changes and ensure that they’re prepared for the change. If they can’t do this right, then you should search for a new integration engine. Plus, integration engines usually have tools to help you manage this and to update this as vendors change (and they will change).

Will Integration Engines Survive?
In the perfect world, we wouldn’t need an integration engine. Healthcare is not a perfect world. In fact, it’s far from it, so I see integration engines sticking around for a long while to come. They’re quite entrenched in the business processes of most large healthcare organizations.

While at the HIMSS Conference, I was talking with Summit Healthcare and they noted that they have 1 client that’s sending 5 million messages per day (Yes, I said per day!). That’s a lot of messages and that’s only one client from one integration engine. Hearing that number illustrated how valuable these integration engines are to an organization. It also flew in the face of healthcare not being interoperable. However, it illustrates how much data needs to be shared if we had true interoperability since those 5 million messages only includes a small portion of health data that could be shared.

We’ll look at diving into integration engines in more detail in future posts. I think they’re an important backbone of what’s happening in healthcare IT and many don’t realize it.

Fewer But Better – Connected Health at #HIMSS17

Posted on March 3, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Since I go to so many connected health related conferences, seeing the latest in connected health at HIMSS is not really a huge deal. In most cases, I’ve already seen it somewhere else in a less hectic environment. With that said, I thought I’d see a real explosion of these devices at the conference. Certainly, there were many there, but I didn’t see the explosion that I had expected.

While there was a concentration of them in the Connected Health area, most of the rest of the show floor didn’t have many that I noticed. No doubt we each have our own unique experience at a 40,000 person and 1200 exhibitor conference. So, I’d be interested in hearing what other people’s experiences were at the event.

Even though I didn’t see an explosion of connected health devices (In fact, I may have seen fewer!), I do think that the devices that were being demonstrated are going a lot deeper and doing much more than previous years. That’s a good thing because these devices need to be medical relevant for the healthcare establishment to really care about them.

One example was a demo I saw at the DellEMC booth. They had an incredible dashboard of data that was pulling in a number of different health devices. One tracking pill that you swallow was particularly intriguing. The pill showed that the guy demoing the software had been pretty stressed that morning when the demo wasn’t working quite right. Luckily when I was there he was doing better.

Another feature of these connected health devices that hit me was how far they could reach. At the same demo with DellEMC, they had devices that could be tracked for nearly the entire HIMSS Exhibit hall (All of the Orlando Convention Center). While that’s not needed for home applications where wifi is basically ubiquitous, this is a very valuable tool to connect devices in a hospital setting.

As I mentioned, I hadn’t seen many new things, but we’re seeing the natural evolution of these connected health devices. They haven’t really broken out at HIMSS, but they are definitely getting more mature and that’s a good thing.

Healthcare Scene Interview with Steve Lieber at the Close of #HIMSS17

Posted on March 2, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As the HIMSS 2017 Annual conference came to a close, Healthcare Scene had the opportunity to sit down with Steve Lieber, President and CEO of HIMSS, who will be retiring at the end of the year. Being the last HIMSS conference with Steve Lieber at the helm, we wanted to get a feel for how Steve was feeling and take a look back at his 17 years at the helm of this organization.

In this interview, we talk with Steve about how HIMSS has changed over his 17 years running the organization and about some of the pivotal moments in that time. We also ask Steve about his replacement. While he didn’t give us any names he did give us some idea of the process for finding his replacement and what type or attributes the search committee will look at in selecting the new President and CEO of HIMSS. Finally, we wrap up with Steve giving some advice to healthcare IT professionals and even ask Steve if he takes pride in what he and HIMSS have accomplished.

Check out the full interview with Steve Lieber below:

Regardless of how you feel about HIMSS, it’s an impressive organization that puts on an impressive conference. It’s not easy to grow a conference to 40,000 attendees and 1200 vendors and Steve’s been at the helm of its growth. Thanks for sharing your insights with us Steve.

If you enjoyed this interview, subscribe to Healthcare Scene on YouTube and browse the full playlist of healthcare IT interviews we’ve done.

HIMSS17: Health IT Staff, Budgets Growing

Posted on March 1, 2017 I Written By

Anne Zieger 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.

A new study announced last week at the HIMSS17 event concludes that demand for health IT staff continues to grow as employers expand their budgets. Not surprisingly, given this growth, the healthcare employers are having trouble recruiting enough IT staffers to meet their growing needs.

Results from the HIMSS Leadership and Workforce Survey reflect responses from 368 U.S. health IT leaders made between November 2016 and early January 2017. Fifty-six of respondents from vendors and consulting firms were in executive management, as compared with 41% of providers.

The survey concluded that the majority of health IT respondents have positions they’d like to fill, including 61% of health IT vendors/consultants and 43% of providers who responded. Only 32% of vendor/consultant organizations and 38% or providers said they were fully staffed, HIMSS said. We’ve seen this challenge from many of the healthcare IT companies which post their jobs on Healthcare IT Central.

Demand for IT recruits grew last year, as well. Researchers found that 61% of vendors/consultants responding and 42% of providers responding saw IT staffing increases over the past year, and that the majority of respondents in both groups expect to increase their IT staffing levels or at least hold them steady next year.

Of course, someone has to pay for these new team members. HIMSS researchers found that IT budgets were continuing to rise over time. Roughly nine out of ten vendors/consultants and 56% of providers said they expected to see increases in their IT budgets this year.

As often happens, however, vendors and consultants and providers seem to have different HIT priorities. While vendors seem to be addressing new technology issues, providers are still focused on how to manage their existing EMR infrastructure investments, HIMSS said.

That being said, the survey found, health IT stakeholders have many overlapping concerns, including privacy and security, population health, care coordination and improving the culture of care.

One of the key insights from this study – that vendors/consultants and providers have different views on the importance of enhancing existing EMRs – is borne out by another study released at the HIMSS event.

The study, which was backed by voice recognition software vendor Nuance Communications, found that providers are broadly interested in implementing new technologies that enhance their EMR, especially computer-assisted physician documentation, mobility and speech recognition tools.

However, when asked to be specific about which tools interested them, they were less enthusiastic, with 44% showing an interest in mobility tools, 38% computer-assisted physician documentation and 25% speech recognition. Documentation tools that enhanced existing functions were especially popular, with 54% of respondents expecting to see them support a reduction in denied claims, 52% improved performance under bundled payments, 38% reduced readmissions and 38% better physician time management which improves patient flow.

This survey also found that the most popular strategy for enhancing physician satisfaction with health IT tools was providing clinician training and education (chosen by 82%). Since their EMR is probably their biggest IT investment, my guess is that the training will focus there. And that suggests that EMRs are still the center of their universe, doesn’t it?

HIMSSanity Recovery Tweetstorm Chat and Health IT Insights – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on February 23, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’re taking a little different approach for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 2/24 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). Since this week many of the #HITsm community were busy at the HIMSS Annual Conference in Orlando, we wanted to give people a bit of a break from the regular chat and test out a simple, new approach to the chat in what we’re calling the HIMSSanity Recovery chat.

Instead of sharing 5 topics to discuss, we’re asking everyone in the #HITsm community to share a “Tweetstorm” (check out this article that describes a Tweetstorm pretty well.) that offers some insights into the healthcare IT community. Maybe it’s a story from your experience at HIMSS17, insights into a certain topic, a message of gratitude, a rant on an important topic, a deep look into a subject that matters to you, etc. Of course, you’re welcome to join us even if you didn’t participate in HIMSS in any way shape or form. As long as you have a viewpoint and perspective, you’re welcome to join and share a tweetstorm.

All you have to do to participate is

1. Select a topic, subject, story, or rant you want to share.

2. Share a series of tweets that are numbered (ie. 1.) and end each tweet with the #HITsm hashtag.

3. Check out other people’s tweetstorms and reply to their perspectives.

4. Repeat if you have more than one tweetstorm to share.

Here’s a simple example of a tweetstorm you might share in 8 successive tweets:

1. We need to improve the patient experience in healthcare #HITsm
2. Healthcare organizations that choose not to improve the patient experience are going to be at an extreme disadvantage. #HITsm
3. As value based reimbursement efforts get rolled out, the right patient experience is going to be essential. #HITsm
4. First, it will attract the best patients to your organizations #HITsm
5. Second, it will provide you the opportunity to truly engage with your patients which is necessary in value based reimbursement. #HITsm
6. Third, if you don’t do it, your competitors across the street will and you’ll have a challenge being competitive. #HITsm
7. If you’re not working on the experience your patients have in your office, you should start now. #HITsm
8. Focusing on patient experience is the right thing to do for your patients and your business. #HITsm

That’s all. Easy enough right? I look forward to reading everyone’s #HITsm tweetstorms! Don’t worry if they don’t all go out at Noon ET (9 AM PT). Feel free to share them throughout the full #HITsm hour or even after. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments.

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
3/3 – “Is it ground hog day with population health?
Hosted by @dchou1107 and @cschealth

3/10 – TBD

3/17 – TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always let us know if you have ideas for how to make #HITsm better.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

#HITsm and #hcldr Meetup at #HIMSS17 (And Online)

Posted on February 21, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was excited to join forces with my friend Colin Hung and do a combined meetup with the #HITsm and #hcldr communities at the HIMSS 2017 conference. There’s so much overlap between the two communities, we didn’t see any reason to do something separately.

After a lot of discussions, we decided to go back to our roots and return to the old meetup style. So, we’re meeting in the lobby outside of Hall D on Tuesday, 2/21 at 10 AM ET (7 AM PT). We’ve also enlisted the help of some great people to facilitate those who show up for the meetup (Thanks @mandibpro, @shahidnshah, @sarahbennight).

There’s not really a formal agenda per se. However, we do have a fun social activity for people to participate in. Plus, even if you’re not at the event, you can participate remotely. Here’s the format if you plan to participate remotely.

At 10 AM ET (7 AM PT), you can start by introducing yourself, what you do, and a fun fact or something interesting about you.

Shortly after that, take out a piece of paper or a whiteboard in your office and answer the question “How can we #ImproveHealthcare?”. Once you’ve answered the question on paper or the whiteboard, take a picture of you with the answer and tweet it out with the question “How can we #ImproveHealthcare?” and the hashtags: #hcldr #HITsm and #HIMSS17.

The great news is that @JoeBabaian will be taking care of managing those that are participating remotely. Plus, those of us that are in attendance live will be doing the same. So, we will be able to see the remote messages and those people following along remotely will be able to see our messages from HIMSS.

That’s all. Simple and sweet. We hope you’ll join us. Plus, if are following along at home, you can check out all of the tweets people are sharing here.

Ginni Rometty Keynote at #HIMSS17

Posted on February 20, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This was the tweet I sent after the Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM, keynote at HIMSS 2017. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed. She didn’t say anything groundbreaking. Although, I never expect that from a CEO from a large company that knows very little about healthcare. Her expertise is in management, leadership and in growing a large company. That’s what she can speak to since that’s her expertise. She isn’t an expert in healthcare.

With that in mind, I found these insights from her particularly interesting:


This was a really important message. Far too often I’ve seen healthcare companies with a valuable vision that makes sense and then they get skewed from it because they see how other people are defining the market. That’s generally a bad idea.

On a personal level, this is even more important and something that’s missing far too often today.


I agree 1000% that endless curiosity is a powerful thing. I’d like to see more of it in healthcare. Far too many people aren’t curious in healthcare. They’re just on auto pilot. The innovations that healthcare needs require more curiosity.

I have so much more to share from the conference, but it will have to wait until later. I like to spend as much time at HIMSS, learning, engaging, and experiencing things. Then, it’s fuel for the content I create over the next 6 months to a year. That said, check out @techguy to see many of the insights that were shared at the various meetups I did. Plus, there are a number of videos shared on there as well.

Connected Health at #HIMSS17

Posted on February 17, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

One of the big growth areas at the HIMSS Annual Conference has been around digital and personal connected health (Formerly called mHealth or Mobile Health or Digital Health, etc). At HIMSS 2017 we see that trend continue. If you’re interested in connected health, then you’ll be busy at HIMSS this year.

To start off, they have an entire specialty education summit on the Sunday before the regular conference and the Monday of the conference that’s focused on Digital and Personal Connected Health (Costs $545 to attend now). You can find more details on this event and other education, exhibition and networking around Connected Health here. This Connected Health social hour looks pretty interesting.

Along with the Connected Health Summit, HIMSS Attendees can browse through a wide variety of Connected Health sessions on the education schedule and programming at the Connected Health Experience in the exhibit area.

If you’re looking for exhibitors working on Connected Health solutions, you can check out this list of HIMSS 2017 exhibitors. No doubt there are other exhibitors at HIMSS that just didn’t classify themselves that way, but they’re working on Connected Health solutions.

Along with the Connected Health sessions and exhibits, they also have a Wellness Challenge for all HIMSS attendees. If you’ve ever wanted a Free Apple Watch, then you might want to participate. I always love the idea personally but wish that the competition was virtual. I can never make it at the time specified.

Finally, if you’re not going to be at HIMSS or if you’re there and you want to share in the Connected Health conversation, there’s a special #Connect2Health hashtag you can follow and use.

I know in the past the Connected Health vendors have been some of the more interesting and innovative companies at HIMSS. I’ll be sure to report back on any that I find.

Pre-#HIMSS17 Fun Friday

Posted on I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

It’s Friday and not just any normal Friday, the Friday before the 2017 HIMSS Annual Conference. So, this Fun Friday entry is especially appreciated. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a conversation about this first cartoon many times next week.

Everyone travel safe to HIMSS if you’re going. If you’re grinding away at home, I’ll do my best to bring you some unique, interesting, and valuable perspectives from the conference across my network of Healthcare Scene sites.