A Recruiting Perspective on Continued Health IT Education

The following is a guest blog post by Neil Pascarella, hiring manager at Stoltenberg Consulting.
neil pascarella
In our industry survey conducted at the HIMSS14 annual conference, 50 percent of respondents claimed a lack of resources as the biggest barrier to achieving meaningful use. In order to make up for this lack of resources, health IT professionals need to be well-educated and flexible in order to take on healthcare systems’ multifaceted needs. From a recruiter’s perspective, continued health IT education is both necessary and beneficial for candidates. Within the HIT consulting field, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the talent and expertise needed by our client hospitals to assist them in EMR implementations.

As hospitals continue to upgrade their existing systems, it is vital for candidates to keep up via new version trainings that fall within their areas of expertise.  Making sure they are up-to-date with the latest versions, applications, and upgrades shows a recruiter or hiring manager that the candidate strives to stay ahead of the curve. Possessing cross-vendor training is also a very attractive skill set in a candidate.  With so many hospitals changing their vendors and applications, the need to have staff resources that can work with and provide insight on different systems proves invaluable.  Additionally, cross-vendor experience helps consulting firms keep their consultants busy on projects.  The wider range of expertise the firms’ candidates possess, the more options they have in terms of placing them within their client-base.  Above all, remaining up-to-date on multiple systems enables candidates to make themselves more marketable to consulting firms and clients.

One way we are combatting the issue at Stoltenberg Consulting is with our Consultant Development Program. The program is designed to add fresh faces to the industry with a hands-on learning opportunity. By leveraging our vendor partnerships/relationships as well as our own internal staff, we are able to provide these otherwise non-industry-experienced candidates with the continued training and education they need to be successful for both their own development and client needs.

Healthcare IT is ever-changing, and as such, individuals need to maintain their ability to compete by holding a willingness to learn. Marketability is a key driving force in the industry today.  Candidates need to be able to market themselves to prospective firms and clients.  Consulting firms then need to be able to market their candidates to their clients and prospective clients.  This makes the advancement of health IT education in candidates important in this chain of marketability. Today’s young professionals, with their thirst for learning, represent the future of the healthcare industry and it is in the industry’s best interests to cultivate an environment encouraging a healthy, continued education in HIT.