Once a Health IT employee gains a certain level of experience working at a hospital they have the option to consider working as a consultant. As a Health IT consultant, they would have the ability to increase their income from up to 25 – 70%, depending on their specific skills and the type employment or contracting relationship they put in place. Now I understand that money is not everything but it is a motivator for many people that get into consulting. However, what keeps most people from getting into consulting is the amount of travel that is required.
I don’t have exact numbers, but I would guess that only 1 in every 40 people that work either implementing or supporting a Healthcare IT application are willing to travel the four days a week that is typically required for consultants. Since only 2% (my best estimation) of people working are willing to travel the required amount of time to be a consultant, the supply of potential consultants is generally low. This is the main reason why consultants earn more than people doing a similar job working at a hospital.
Today, demand for knowledgeable, experienced consultants is strong. Right now, many consultants are very content with the income they are earning. In some cases, consultants with certain skill sets can begin to ask for and probably receive higher compensation. But what is interesting, is that many consultants are not asking for more money. What they are asking for is the ability to travel less. Working remotely from home is becoming the “new currency”. So, if a consultant is negotiating a 6 month contract, instead of leveraging for more money, they may ask for the ability to work remotely half the time. Many consultants are getting these terms.
Now what I find interesting is this…if these new travel requirements become the norm, my question is, “How many people who are not interested in consulting now, may become interested?”
So, as I mentioned before, only 1 out of every 40 people are willing to travel 4 days a week every week. But, if the requirements are changed to having someone travel EVERY OTHER week, how many additional people will be willing to do it?
If only 1 of the remaining 39 people who were not willing to travel before, now become open to the idea, this would double the amount of consultants. If this were to take place, what would happen to the compensation for these consultants? Basic supply and demand would say that compensation may go down. Having said that, I believe the demand for consultants will stay strong. So clients offering some flexibility in the travel schedule may be just what is needed in order to increase the supply of consultants that are in high demand across the country.