Conversely, Diann’s article quotes a person-in-the-know who says, “hiring managers are especially focused on recruiting those with specific Healthcare vendor experience, such as Epic, Cerner, or Meditech.”
Instead of saying one is right and the other is wrong, I’m going to duck — and say the difficulty of finding a Healthcare IT job depends on so many factors that we might as well say, “It depends” and leave it at that.
Except we might want to read this article I wrote back in May, 2011: ‘I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help You Find a Job in Health Care IT’.
The thing is, yes, there are specific courses and certificates for Healthcare IT springing up all over the place. Combine any of them with strong general IT experience, and you should be a Healthcare IT shoe-in. Note too, that if Joanne’s view of the industry is correct, any solid IT experience — especially with security, due to HIPAA — should land you a decent Healthcare IT job.
And once inside the HealthCare IT garden, Diann’s sources and Joanne’s sources agree with almost everyone else in the business, you are good to go for many years to come.]]>
Caryn says there are plenty of people out there — you’re probably one of them if you’re reading this — who know plenty about IT but little or nothing about how the health care industry works. Conversely, there are plenty of people working in the health care industry who know little or nothing about IT. A large part of what she is working on right now is setting up community college programs like this one, which concentrates on Heath Care IT Workforce Roles.
Right now, this program and others like it around the state are putting a lot of their energy into training “incumbent health care employees,” which means taking people like the office workers you see in doctors’ offices and hospitals, and teaching them how to deal with computer hardware and software. But there’s also a lot of money and energy going into training IT people like you how to deal with the medical environment. Here are three programs at Cosumnes River College whose titles indicate that they’re looking for more IT people than medical people to enter their program:
The blurbs for the first two course tracks include this note: “The previous background of workers in this role includes information technology or information management.”
The blurb for the third says: “The previous background of workers in this role includes experience as a health professional or health information management specialist.”
“But I don’t live in California…”
That’s okay. neither do I nor, come to think of it, does a majority of the U.S. population. So we non-Californians go to the HealthInformationExchanges.org site, specifically to the Regional Extension Centers List, and find our local equivalent of CalHIPSO — and if we’re lucky we find someone as helpful for our state’s job-hungry IT people as Caryn Rizell is for our brothers and sisters in California.
A tip of the Zippy the Pinhead pin goes to Joanne Rohde of Axial Exchange, who told me about CalHIPSO and sugggested I write about their efforts to help IT people move into Health IT.]]>
A classic problem — and the one Joanne’s company helps doctors and hospitals solve — is sharing clinical data, which seems to be a serious head-scratcher for people in the medical business. You might think that if you get your blood drawn, and a lab performs a test on your blood, any doctor, clinic or hospital that treats you can access the results of that test and also learn that you are allergic to peanuts, latex, penicillin or whatever. But the doctors and their suppliers seem to be mystified by the idea of using standard data formats so they can easily share patient information with each other.
And they whine a lot about meeting stringent HIPAA privacy requirements.
But Joanne — who was COO of Red Hat Software and before that was a financial industry data processing hotshot — points out that keeping medical information private really isn’t hard; the financial industry has had something called SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) for a number of decades now, and it obviously works rather well.
The system is obviously rather secure, since you can use your debit card in an ATM owned by a bank where you don’t have an account without any problems, and it is a ho-hum no-brainer to have your income tax refund deposited directly into your account at almost any U.S. financial institution.
Interoperability was solved by the financial industry as a matter of self-interest, and the transition to electronic banking was so smooth that most bank customers barely noticed that it was going on, except for the amazing (and continuing) proliferation of ATMs.
But the medical industry? Doctors seem to need endless hand-holding — and $40 billion worth of government subsidies — to build an industry-wide clinical information sharing system. In other words, they need your help.
Right now, Joanne says, in early 2011, hospitals and medical practices are looking at practice management software and trying to figure out what to buy. Next year, “they will actually do their migrations.” And she believes the best job opportunities are with hospitals, hospital chains, and medical industry software vendors, not with your local doctor or group medical practice.
The hospitals, she says, “have money to spend. They’ve almost all gone to their boards and gotten some IT budget going.”
What about the IT people they already have? “Historically,” says Joanne,”they’ve had small IT systems, almost all payment focused, so they have no people with experience in complex workflow systems.”
In other words, your experience implementing SAP, Peoplesoft, Oracle or even Salesforce can be a big deal to a hospital or clinic, even if you think this experience is so hum-drum that it’s barely worth noting on a resume or in an interview.
The vendors in the medical field may have different names than the ones you’re used to, but the implementations are similar.
And, says Joanne, “the work takes exactly the same skillsets,” so you should have no trouble jumping right into a health care IT job that pays at least as much as the IT job you have now — and that may offer a lot more opportunity for advancement in coming years.]]>