More than 10,000 employees completed the 2012 BEST Hospital IT Departments survey

This is the second year for Healthcare IT News' "Where to Work: BEST Hospital IT Departments" program, and participation took a dramatic jump over last year's debut.

In 2011, 179 hospitals were nominated for the program; 75 of those hospitals qualified; and overall 4,945 IT employees completed the extensive 67-question online survey. This year, those numbers skyrocketed: 272 hospitals were nominated, 125 qualified and 10,863 IT employees completed the survey. (To qualify for the program, at least half of a hospital's IT employees must take the survey.)

When you consider how swamped with work hospital IT departments are these days, that kind of participation is impressive. If you're a busy person, you know that just setting aside 15 minutes during the workday (about how long it takes to complete the Best Hospital's survey), can be a challenge.

What's also impressive are the characteristics and values that show up again and again in the profiles of the top IT departments in this special report: teamwork, work-life balance, empowerment, trust, openness, honesty, accountability... the list goes on. From inception, that's been this project's goal: To determine what characteristics distinguish the best hospital IT departments from all the rest -- and to share these values and best practices with the rest of the industry.

Here are some other numbers from this year's program:

  • Of the 125 qualifying hospitals, 60 were large (351 or more licensed beds); 45 were medium (101 to 350 licensed beds); and 20 were small (100 or fewer licensed beds);
  • 8,365 surveys came from large hospitals; 1,110 from medium; 157 from small; and 1,231 from nominated hospitals that did not qualify;
  • 35 percent of respondents were women and 51 percent men; 14 percent preferred not to say;
  • 65 percent of respondents were between 35 and 54 years old;
  • 91 percent were full-time employees;
  • 54 percent earned between $50,000 and $99,000 annually.

As a means of interpreting the results, our partner in this project, Critical Insights, an independent market-research company based in Portland, Maine, used an index where a score of 100 is considered "average." Here's how all IT employees who took the 2012 survey ranked the importance of workplace satisfaction categories addressed in the study:

- Satisfaction with elements of their day-to-day work (113)
- Satisfaction with immediate work unit, team or IT department group (105)
- Satisfaction with workplace culture (105)
- Satisfaction with senior management and organizational leadership (98)
- Satisfaction with training, professional development and advancement (96)
- Satisfaction with direct supervisor or manager (93)
- Satisfaction with compensation, benefits and employee recognition (89)

These results are consistent with last year's data.

The better an IT department scored in the categories most important to employees, the higher its final ranking.

Like last year, the most important factors influencing employee satisfaction tend to be more subjective, less pragmatic factors such as feeling like part of a team, gaining a sense of accomplishment from work, feeling respected as a professional and believing that morale is high. Less important are more pragmatic measures such as believing that staffing and budgets are sufficient, having a sense of accountability for work and decisions, and being satisfied with benefits.

At the end of the day, money matters, but as you'll read in profile after profile, more than money, employees value a friendly, supportive workplace where they are empowered to do good work. The top hospitals in this year's "Where to Work: BEST Hospital IT Departments" understand that completely.


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