I regularly interview students from the UT HIT program and I find that their certificate is next to meaningless. The program is way too academic and their knowledge of the subjects are trivial at best. They would be better off reading 3-5 good health IT blogs and this HIMSS thread for 13 weeks and commenting on every post and interacting with everyone they can. That will lead to a more realistic understanding of how things work.
I really love the idea of reading the top healthcare IT blogs (I’m partial to the Healthcare Scene blogs) and reading and responding on a LinkedIn group like HIMSS. The reason why I think this is beneficial is two fold. First, it’s a great way to learn what people are talking about in the industry. You’ll see which topics are hot. You’ll learn a new set of lingo that you’d probably never seen or heard before. All of this will make you a better employee and will help you impress people in an interview.
However, beyond the educational aspects of this idea, by not just reading but also interacting on these forums it’s a great way to network with people who can either hire you, inform you of a job opportunity, or tell their friends about you. If you think about it, doing so is basically good old fashion networking, but done online.
One word of caution though. After spending a fair amount of time interacting on these online forums and reading the top blogs, you might feel like you’re really well versed in the latest healthcare IT happenings. Be careful not to get “too far out over your skis.” You don’t want to be too confident with all this new knowledge or you can often crash and burn if the person interviewing you sees the healthcare IT world from a different perspective. Tread lightly and you’ll do just fine.