Frequently, I am asked for advice from those seeking to transition to a career in health IT. And based on my years of experience, I have a few tips to share. And I’ve compiled them into a two-part blog series for your review.
1) Do you have skills from other industries that could be used in healthcare? Excellent examples are project management, information security practices, contracting/procurement, EMT, education, process re-engineering, fraud and abuse detection, claims adjudication, financial systems, etc.
2) Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). This is a great process tool that I use. Just brainstorm a list in each category to uncover what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re good at, etc. This will identify trends, if you can spot them. Have a friend or trusted colleague work through this with you.
3) To learn if healthcare is for you, join HIMSS. We have memberships for as little as $30 (online membership); our individual membership is $160 for one year. This is truly your best value because you have access to all the tools and resources we have as a member: many are complimentary and some are fee-based but have member pricing.
I’ve worked with IT folks in the healthcare setting who were terrified of needles: if there was a hardware issue on a patient floor, we really had to be careful who we sent because of this. And the site of blood, sick patients, and grieving families were other considerations. But the rewards of working in healthcare are priceless: as a health IT professional, you can positively affect patient care without being at the bedside.
4) When you join HIMSS, be sure to join (at no charge) the Emerging Professionals Community, designed for those with five or fewer years of experience (or engagement) in health IT. We feature many complimentary webinars with nationally recognized luminaries who speak directly to those new to healthcare. Also, HIMSS has a Federal Health Community that you may also join at no charge.
5) Participate in education. HIMSS has many virtual events which are complimentary for members who work in a clinical setting. Visit the website for upcoming and archived sessions. We have an annual conference that showcases education, exhibition, and networking opportunities across an entire industry. And don’t forget about our specialty events like the Government Health IT Conference & Exhibition and others, too.
6) Participate in a volunteer activity. This is a great way to learn more about the industry from others who are working in it. I’ve done the same for non-healthcare IT project management (I’m a PMP). At one time, I wanted to know how other industries function so I joined a PMI community of profession on troubled projects, as an example.
Let me know about your career in health IT and look for the second part of my post next Thursday, Sept. 20, here on the HIMSS Blog.