The Evolving Healthcare CMIO Role

By Hillary Ross, J.D.

The Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) and other medical informatics leadership positions have become critical to healthcare organizations’ ability to treat patients, track health outcomes and improve care. As the healthcare industry evolves so, too, do the roles of this growing group of physician IT executives. To gain a deeper appreciation for how CMIO and similar roles are changing, WittKieffer and AMDIS (Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems) teamed to conduct a survey of 161 healthcare informatics leaders. Respondents were questioned about their roles, clinical components, compensation and more. This was the third time that WittKieffer and AMDIS have partnered on such a survey.


CMIOs have had increased roles due to innovation and digitalization. The CMIO’s expertise has provided increased quality in patient care given the use of predictive analytics, EMR upgrades and informatics. Some physician IT leaders retain a clinical component and derive a portion of earnings from it as a piece of their overall compensation.

We did some comparisons of this year’s data with previous years. Among the findings were that, while CMIOs have more clinical information systems experience than in the past, fewer of them are considered members of their executive leadership teams.

How many years of clinical information systems experience do you have?

Are you considered a member of the executive leadership team at the enterprise level of your organization?


A takeaway from the survey was that CMIO and related roles have increased compensation. Survey respondents shared salary information and the largest group, as indicated in the chart below, earned between $300,000 and $350,000. Compensation for physician IT executives is robust as demand continues to increase. Many CMIOs and physician IT leaders earn significant bonuses to supplement their income. Bonuses can be in the 20% to 30% range for those executives who receive them.

What is your current base salary?

If you are eligible for a bonus, what percentage of your salary is it?

We learned other interesting information from the survey:

  • Clinical informatics teams are growing, with some teams at larger systems having more than 200 full-time employees
  • The profession of physician IT leader is maturing and standardizing. Nearly three-quarters of respondents indicated that they are now board certified in clinical informatics
  • Diversity must be more of a priority in the field. We asked survey takers about diversity and inclusion initiatives. About two-thirds say they make a concerted effort to hire and mentor diverse individuals as well as partake in unconscious bias training. Suggesting much room for improvement, just 17% said they have a “specific diversity strategy for my own team”

The above information is just a sample of the data we received from the survey conducted in partnership with AMDIS.