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8 findings from the 2018 HIMSS Compensation Survey
The average salary of digital health professionals continues to rise, although the rate of growth appears to be slowing, according to results of the 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey. However, the report, by the nation’s largest health IT organization, finds that many compensation disparities exist among select population groups, with evidence suggesting that, “on average, both female and non-white digital health professionals are paid less than their respective peers.”

The survey had 885 respondents representing healthcare IT professionals from an array of organizations. To be included, respondents needed to work in the U.S.; have a position in direct management, development or support of health IT in a provider organization; and provide compensation data to yield an annual salary profile.
The average salary is trending higher
The average salary of digital health professionals in the 2018 study is $109,610. HIMSS researchers say that’s in line with the average salaries obtained in previous HIMSS Compensation studies. “Using a best-fit-line trend analysis, the average salary for digital health professionals over a 12-year period (2006 to 2018) has consistently increased, with the trajectory slowing after the first few years of the study period,” the report notes.
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Females make 18 percent less than male peers
The HIMSS Compensation survey pegs the average salary of females at $100,447, compared with $123,244 for males. Researchers conclude that females are paid 82 cents for every dollar that male counterparts are paid. That’s a slight improvement over the last several years; HIMSS data from a 2015 compensation survey found that females made 22 percent less than their male peers.

In addition HIMSS says the pay gap tends to widen for women in older age cohorts.
Gender pay disparities most prevalent among executives
The pay gap for female executives is wider than the gaps experienced by females in non-executive managerial and non-managerial roles. And this trend of pay disparity among female HIT executives vs. male executives appears to be getting wider over time, HIMSS data show—for example, female executives earned almost 90 percent of what male counterparts earned in 2011, but now earn only 78 percent, HIMSS data show.
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Females in clinical management have the biggest pay disparities
Those in the following roles—chief medical officers, medical directors, chiefs of staff, chief nursing officers, vice presidents and directors of nursing and the like—show the biggest disparities in pay difference with males, earning only 59 percent of what males in the same roles make. By contrast, those in information and management systems make 83 percent of the salaries commanded by males.
Non-white health IT professionals earn less than whites
The 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey found that non-white health IT professionals on average make 12 percent less than white counterparts. Some 78 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, and their average salary was $112,926, compared with an average of $99,609 for non-whites.
Non-white females experience 'double jeopardy'
The HIMSS data also shows that older, non-white information and technology professionals experience greater pay disparities. And its researchers conclude that being female and non-white “present a challenge to equitable pay, as non-white females have the lowest average salaries of the four gender-racial groups considered.”
Racial pay disparities exist by managerial level
Non-white health IT professionals in executive management positions make an average of 29 percent less than their white peers, while non-white health IT professionals in non-executive management positions appear to make 12 percent more than their white colleagues.
Hospital settings have least pay disparity for non-white professionals
The pay gap for non-white professionals in digital health positions was the least in hospital settings, down only about 8 percent from what whites earn. In most other settings, non-whites earned 82 percent to 84 percent of what whites earn. The disparity between whites and non-whites is greatest in government hospitals, where non-whites earn 20 percent less than whites; by contrast, in for-profit hospitals, non-whites actually earn 3 percent more than whites, HIMSS data show.
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For more information
Other information about the salary survey, including access to the report, can be found here.