Tips to Health IT Professionals for Gaining Competitive Edge in the Job Market

In honor of National Health IT Week Sept. 15-19, American Sentinel University offers tips to health IT professionals for gaining a competitive edge in the healthcare marketplace.

A recent study by HIMSS shows demand for qualified health IT professionals are at an all-time high and a candidate’s skill set is the differentiating factor when filling a position. The skill most desired is that of an IT professional that has clinical workflow and terminology experience. American Sentinel offers specialization in healthcare, giving students a competitive advantage in the clinical IT environment.

“Technology and healthcare are two ever-changing industries. When the two collide it creates dynamic and exciting challenges for health IT professionals,” says Blair Smith, Ph.D., dean of Informatics-Management- Technology programs at American Sentinel University. “Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementation has become the focal point and while it offers tremendous capabilities, it also creates a multitude of challenges for today’s IT professionals. Those with in-demand skills will find themselves far more marketable.”

At the top of the list of challenges includes data management, application management, BYOD, patient privacy, HIPAA compliance, business intelligence and analytics and risk management. The HIMSS study found that a higher percentage of respondents said that their organizations were interested in either training current employees or hiring recent graduates to fill needed positions, but 85 percent of respondents said their organizations faced barriers meeting their health IT needs. The majority cited a lack of qualified talent and 40 percent of those surveyed said they have open positions for which they cannot find qualified talent.

“Employers want to hire candidates with a health technology degree or certification that are prepared from day one on the job,” says Smith. He says that it’s important for students to choose a degree program that is relevant to today’s industry needs. Smith details some of the must-have skills health IT professionals need to make themselves more marketable in the current healthcare market. “Look for programs that use immersive learning technology to foster program comprehension so that you can immediately apply what you learn to your work to positively impact your career,” he adds. “This will help differentiate you from other candidates and position yourself for a successful career in this fast-growing industry.”

Adaptability to Change. The ability to adapt to changing parameters is very important in healthcare because healthcare reform and government mandates are every-changing. “It’s important that health IT professionals be alert to the latest trends and be prepared for how it will impact your healthcare facility’s plan and goals,” says Smith.

Innovativeness. Healthcare is ever-evolving and health IT leaders will be challenged to think in new ways, adjust to change and lead change while creating new models of care. “The phrase ‘innovate or die’ has never been more true than now as we enter the transformation that is pivotal to the future of healthcare worldwide,” says Smith.

Communications Savvy. The race for information is on and the ability for health IT professionals to be adept at finding new and better ways to communicate greater amounts of data and information will become increasingly important. “The greatest leaders have always been able to rely on strong communication skills. Moving to a data driven culture presents new demands where the accelerated availability of data has rendered the decision of what is useful and what to communicate as important as how to communicate it,” adds Smith.

Applications Know-How. As health organizations begin looking for solutions to measure quality and standards, Smith says that IT professionals will play a critical role to guide them through the technology maze of applications and data management. -Security and Compliance. It is crucial that healthcare facilities be HIPAA-compliant and protect patient health records. This becomes more challenging for IT professionals when information is collected in one place and is required to move from one environment to another, says Smith. This has created a greater need for skills in the information management security side of healthcare.

Risk Management. Most healthcare organizations place a strong emphasis on data management and data security. This critical need to manage and protect this information has created a demand for IT professionals with this particular expertise. “Healthcare needs IT professionals that can create the appropriate structure to govern security and know how to protect information and address breaches from a compliance perspective,” says Smith. He says that it is crucial that healthcare organizations have a plan in place to address the potential losses and breach of information and know how to be protected in the future.

Business Intelligence and Analytics. Business intelligence (BI) and analytics are a way for healthcare organizations to aggregate better quality information. “The industry is currently putting greater emphasis on finding newer and more aggressive BI and analytics tools, which has created a higher demand for those IT professionals with these skills,” says Smith.

“As the healthcare industry continues to be a bright spot for the economy, IT professionals with the right education and skills will have ample opportunities to enjoy a long and promising career in this exciting field,” adds Smith. 

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CellTrakCARES Feeds the Hungry and Helps Fill Food Banks this Holiday Season

CellTrak Technologies, Inc. the leading provider of mobile technologies for home and community care market located in Schaumburg, IL and with Canadian operations located in Cambridge, Ontario, and UK operations in London England, has been in business since 2006.

Today CellTrak is used daily to deliver millions of successful and compliant homecare visits throughout the markets it serves. CellTrakCARES, a volunteer outreach program launched in 2009 is built on the staff we have across the globe to give back to local community as well as international. This holiday season the group has given more than a 100 hours of volunteer time, built a wall of food for donation and sent food across the globe. After the Philippines typhoon disaster CellTrakCARES sent a donation to Feed My Starving Children to purchase the food to fill the care packages that volunteers create in teams.

CellTrakCARES volunteered their time in groups to pack up meals for feed my starving children (www.fmsc.org) all over the world. Teams of employees volunteered their time to assemble, package and ship the easy-to-prepare food blend. Over a few weeks and seven shifts of teams they packaged 714 bags of food. That totals 154,000 meals, and enough to feed 427 children for an entire year. While the formula they assembled was designed to save the lives of severely malnourished and starving children, the ingredients also improve the health, growth and physical well-being of children who are no longer in immediate danger of starvation. Since the donation was given for the food supplies, our team was able to package the food based on our donation this year. Employees in our Canadian office built a wall of food for a donation at the Cambridge Self Help Food Bank in Cambridge Ontario (www.cambridgefoodbank.on.ca). At the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, their services extend beyond simply providing food. They are more than just “a food bank”.

They provide both emergency and proactive services that help people either recover from or avoid another crisis. Our team “wall” totaled more than 200 pounds of food. As the number of families that need assistance continues to grow, our support is needed more than ever.

“The CellTrakCARES program is consistently giving back to the local communities in which we operate. This effort is an organization commitment. The employees who volunteer as part of the CellTrakCARES program are dedicated to making a difference and we couldn’t be happier to see all of our accomplishments through out the year” shared Michael K. Wons President and CEO of CellTrak Technologies, Inc.

CellTrakCARES is comprised of the employees of local businesses focused on volunteering and giving back to the communities where they work and live. While everyone is busy and bust