The realities of getting a job in healthcare IT

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Diann Daniel for an article she recently posted about healthcare IT careers. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking to enter the health IT field.

Here was my advice during the interview:

  • Hiring managers are making a mistake if they aren’t looking outside of healthcare for filling IT roles. The only roles that can not be filled by outsiders are in clinical engineering and application-specific specialists. For all other infrastructure and integration work you can hire pretty much any qualified IT personnel and they will be able to help you. If you have a choice, then certainly go for the health / medical experience but these days we don’t always have the choice.
  • If a person has experience with CRM / ERP / MRP and many other large-scale IT project implementations, that might be just the right kind of help you need in case you can’t find the deep EHR implementation specialists you need.
  • If a person has almost any significant IT security experience outside of healthcare IT (especially in financial or government) you should probably prefer them over health IT security specialists because health IT security is weak these days.
  • Anyone with deep IT project management (PM) experience in almost any industry can be a useful health IT project manager as well.

A couple of other key points Diann presented in the article include:

Learn how a healthcare setting works. Do your homework. You need to understand the processes that go into healthcare. For example, Shah says, it’s imperative to understand clinical workflows. To begin this learning, read books on the subject, many available from and published by HIMSS. In addition, he says, do informational interviews, network, join health IT organizations, talk to recruiters, read industry publications (such asHealthcare IT News), visit discussion boards on healthcare IT subjects (even those for doctors and nurses)—basically do anything and everything that helps you learn the lingo and landscape. And if possible, volunteer in a hospital or other healthcare IT setting, say both Figge and Shah. Such up-close experience is invaluable.

Research jobs. This may be obvious, but it’s worth pointing out: If you’re simply choosing a job title based on what you do now, you’re going about it the wrong way, says Shah. You need to do your research to find out what your ideal jobs are called in the world of healthcare and how your current skills answer the needs recruiters and hiring managers have, as well as what you need to add to your skill set. Tailor your resume around the language and needs of the healthcare industry, says Shah. "If you haven’t covered the right keywords, then shame on you."

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8 thoughts on “The realities of getting a job in healthcare IT

  1. Great tips and advice delivered. I would love to read more posts from you. I am also a Medical software consultant and doing research on physicians practice management via EMR/EHR softwares.


  2. Excellent Note on recruiting a IT resource for Healthcare. This is applicable for Hardware Engineering resources as well. If the recruiting company has a basic Quality system framework and tight documentation process, will help when dealing with Non-Medical Engineering resources.

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  5. I
    used to work in healthcare, I worked for Tenet and for Kaiser, both as a
    financial analyst. Since then I have worked as an Excel consultant. I have
    friends that are still in the healthcare field. They have been in it so long
    that it makes it difficult to transition out of healthcare and into other
    industries. Their skills are transferrable, but you really have to sell them.
    Having your last 3 to 5 jobs in healthcare does make it difficult.  And if you want to live in the same house as you
    do this, it is even harder, unless you stay with one or two firms as there are usually
    only so many quality firms in one area.

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