Attention to detail. Technical chops. Clinical expertise. Healthcare IT employees bring a lot to the table – and boy, do they bring it. These talented, skilled pros are helping to transform the healthcare technology field and bring it into a high-tech, patient-focused future.
Jobs in healthcare IT are a growing market these days, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), so if you’re looking for a career with stability and a bright future, your search may be over. Top talent in the healthcare IT field commands top salaries these days, and the emotional benefits of making a difference in people’s health is also extremely appealing.
But not just anyone can walk in and get the job. A good candidate does need some credentials and experience to even be considered for an IT position in healthcare. Because of the impending compliance deadlines imposed by the ACA, hospitals and providers are in a rush to hire IT staff. Candidates who have healthcare experience will have a much faster learning curve, so they are getting top priority.
But the good news is: it isn’t absolutely necessary to have a background in healthcare to land a rewarding, challenging position in the healthcare IT field. It is possible for talented IT professionals to transition with minimal pain.
Making the Switch: Challenges
For any IT professional who wants to transition over to a healthcare setting, there will be two main challenges. The first is competition from other candidates who already have healthcare experience and are looking to move into IT.
The second challenge is the culture shock of moving into an environment where IT merely plays a supporting role to the bigger picture: health. Many IT professionals external to healthcare have enjoyed a work environment in which they were the rock stars. In healthcare IT, the medical providers are the rock stars because they are the rainmakers.
How Candidates Can Transition
If at all possible, candidates should get training or a certification in healthcare IT. Many education providers offer classes and certification programs either in a local classroom setting or virtually, so basic knowledge is accessible. Although theoretical knowledge in healthcare won’t trump actual experience, a strong effort to learn the healthcare environment will help a candidate with an IT background.
Additionally, desirable candidates will clearly demonstrate a passion for and commitment to the employer’s mission. If the employer is a large hospital known for breakthrough procedures and research, prospective new hires should be aware of this and embrace it. On the other hand, if the employer is a small healthcare provider focused on community outreach and individual patient care, candidates should adopt a supporting attitude.
It’s a Hot Market
Candidates in the healthcare IT field are having a field day right now – forgive the pun. Even though providers have been given a compliance extension until 2015, many will want to get their systems upgraded and up to speed as soon as possible. Employers who want to get ahead of the game will widen the scope of their talent search to include candidates with little or no healthcare experience but who are passionate and ready to learn. And healthcare providers with in-house training for these professionals will be able to ramp up their HIT staffs rapidly.