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Archive for the ‘Health IT’ Category

Sell yourself first — building relationships in HIT Consulting

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Whether we like it or not, personal selling is important in any profession.  In HIT, we need to sell ideas and concepts, strategies and solutions.  Our “buyers” include bosses and co-workers.  Here are some personal selling tips that may help you today, or sometime in the near future:

1) Be sincere with people. People are smart and see right through insincerity. If you are not sincere and honest with everyone you meet then you should not be selling anything.

2) Sell what you believe in. If you do not have a passion what you are selling you will not be happy–or very successful.

3) It is vitally important to constantly hone your sales and communications skills. Continuous growth and training in formal professional selling techniques is also very important. Take training classes, listen to professional development audio podcasts and seminars, read all the professional development material you can get your hands on, and start a program of self-study and development in sales today if you haven’t already.

4) First listen to your “customer”, understand his or her wants and needs, and only then try to determine whether or not you can deliver the product or services to meet those wants and needs. If you approach a prospect with a solution before understanding the problem you are likely to be wrong about the solution.

5) The best sales people ask a lot of questions and genuinely listen to the answers before speaking again.  (This is probably the reason we have two ears and one mouth!)

6) Your “customers” are all different so you should treat them differently.

Remember, personal selling is a lot like a first impression…you only get one shot before an opinion is made.  So, put your best foot forward in selling yourself, the ideas you have and the solutions you can offer in HIT.  Good Luck!

-Sheila Rogers

Sheila Rogers is Founder and CEO of HIT Consulting Jobs.  She can be reached at 214-929-8959, or sheila@hitconsultingjobs.com.

Electronic Health Record Systems

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Anyone who’s wandered the showroom floor at a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society convention knows there are tons of health information technology companies. There were upwards of 1,100 exhibitors this year.

But earlier this month, Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Research within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, presented a slide at an Health Information Technology Policy Committee meeting with some health IT market numbers that I found nothing short of astonishing.

Believe it or not, according to Daniel, there are 613 “complete” electronic health record systems and 399 “modular” systems that have been tested and certified for use in the federal EHR incentive payment program in the ambulatory-care market alone.

There are another 87 complete and 378 modular EHR systems for inpatient venues.

All totaled, as of July 5, there were 816 different EHR vendors offering 1,477 “unique” certified products on the ONC’s official Certified Health IT Product List, from which Daniel drew her incredible numbers.

Chase Titensor is a researcher and data analyst for KLAS Enterprises who worked on his company’s latest report on the ambulatory EHR market released earlier this week. We talked Thursday and when I asked what surprised him most from the research for the report this year, it was just how large and increasingly diverse, the ambulatory EHR market is.

Titensor and his fellow KLAS researchers interviewed 318 shoppers for ambulatory-care EHRs—either first-time buyers or those looking to replace existing systems. Of those buyers, 64% are considering EHRs other than the top 11 brands, up from 49% in a similar research a year earlier.

Consideration of products from these “other” vendors spiked to 88% for those docs in the solo or small-group market (up to 10 physicians).

Simply put, it is a market that is still expanding and not yet consolidating.

“It is amazing to see the rise of solutions being considered outside of the top 11,” Titensor said. “You can see that in the ONC numbers and the number of private venture capital groups getting into the business. It’s just a market in total upheaval.”

So, I asked Titensor, do you think it’s possible there’s an EHR out there in that herd of 602 “other” EHRs not in your top 11 that’s the “killer app” in the making, one that may one day challenge today’s market leaders?

He said he’s had conversations with several CEOs of name brand companies and “they’re very cognizant of the fact there is somebody out there who could replace them.”

“I’m sure there is somebody in the weeds,” Titensor said. “I just can’t say who it is. I just don’t know.”

-Renee

Renee Brannan is Director of Sales and Marketing at HIT Consulting Jobs.  She can be reached at renee@hitconsultingjobs.com

Winning steps for presenting your resume

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Whether you are new to the healthcare information technology industry or a seasoned consultant, use these sixteen steps for presenting your resume to healthcare IT recruiters to stand out in the crowd.

1. First and foremost, have your resume updated and prepared to submit to the recruiter. The competition
is fierce out there, so time is of the essence.

2. Include every aspect of your job duties including all vendor systems. This is not the time to be vague. Consider using bullet points. They’re clean, simple and direct. I seriously doubt the VP of applications at a major health system has time to search for information in your resume. Chances are, he or she has a great relationship with the consulting firm and trusts they are being presented with the right candidate. Make it easy for them to make that decision.

3. Outline your core strengths. Cater your resume towards the specific role for which you are applying.

4. Use key action words such as Built, Tested, Implemented, Supported, Led, etc. Include the specific vendor systems for these roles as well.

5. Be sure to include the month/year for each project/position. Not presenting this information makes you appear less credible.

6. Keep everything uniform – the basics of resume writing. Your resume style should be consistent.

7. Stick with the facts. It’s easier to explain why you don’t know the answer than why you misrepresented your expertise. Ask the recruiter to assist you.

8. Highlight any certifications and education. On the other hand, there is no need to send a soft copy of your certification to the recruiter. They will most likely verify this information via the internet or through a contact with the actual vendor.

9. Include your extended background IF it pertains to the industry. Two to three pages is great if this is necessary to highlight your experience. However, be careful not to go beyond this.

10. Remove any references on your resume, but have them prepared to send separately once there is a confirmed interest from both parties.

11. Prepare one to two letters of reference in soft copy format. Have these ready to send as well.

12. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread, then have someone else Proofread your resume. Let the resume showcase your skills not your grammatical errors. Oh, and please do not refer to yourself in third person.

13. Remember that the recruiter is not an HIT Consultant. Therefore, their technical skills are sometimes limited to searching for key words or specific details within a resume. Do not get offended when you are asked to expand on your experience or provide more detail. The recruiter may be searching for that key piece of information for which the client is seeking.

14. Be willing to reveal the other clients to which you have been submitted. Details are not necessary. This is to protect you from being submitted twice to the same client.

15. Keep track of where your resume has been submitted especially if you are working with multiple consulting firms.

16. Lastly, insist that the recruiter must have your verbal or written permission to submit your resume to clients.

-Renee Brannan
(written in collaboration with Romona Rivere, Sr. Healthcare IT Recruiter)

Renee is a Business Development Manager for HIT Consulting Jobs and can be reached at 214-412-8871 or renee@hitconsultingjobs.com.

ICD-10 Transition

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The adoption of ICD-10 code sets for reporting diagnosis and procedures to payers is set to occur on October 14, 2014.  Undoubtedly, if you haven’t heard much about these changes yet, you will soon.

The new code sets, which more than quadruples the number of reporting codes to over 69,000, represents an amazing increase in the level of reporting and detail.  The benefits of this transition include:

  • More accurate coding for diagnosis and procedures
  • Better billing accuracy
  • Better ability to track disease
  • Pervasive use of codes throughout systems

The ICD-10 conversion may require a wide variety of application changes for healthcare provider organizations – something akin to a Y2K event.  The changes will impact everything from billing systems, to practice management and EHR.

Many in the healthcare community believe that there is at least a chance for the implementation date to change, but virtually everyone agrees that the transition will take place, as the US is one of the last developed countries in the world to make this change.  Identifying a project sponsor and strategic steering board as champions for this massive transition are starting points for the adoption of ICD-10 code sets.

EHR Systems

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Anyone who’s wandered the showroom floor at a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society convention knows there are tons of health information technology companies. There were upwards of 1,100 exhibitors this year.

But earlier this month, Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Research within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, presented a slide at an Health Information Technology Policy Committee meeting with some health IT market numbers that I found nothing short of astonishing.

Believe it or not, according to Daniel, there are 613 “complete” electronic health record systems and 399 “modular” systems that have been tested and certified for use in the federal EHR incentive payment program in the ambulatory-care market alone.

There are another 87 complete and 378 modular EHR systems for inpatient venues.

All totaled, as of July 5, there were 816 different EHR vendors offering 1,477 “unique” certified products on the ONC’s official Certified Health IT Product List, from which Daniel drew her incredible numbers.

Chase Titensor is a researcher and data analyst for KLAS Enterprises who worked on his company’s latest report on the ambulatory EHR market released earlier this week. We talked Thursday and when I asked what surprised him most from the research for the report this year, it was just how large and increasingly diverse, the ambulatory EHR market is.

Titensor and his fellow KLAS researchers interviewed 318 shoppers for ambulatory-care EHRs—either first-time buyers or those looking to replace existing systems. Of those buyers, 64% are considering EHRs other than the top 11 brands, up from 49% in a similar research a year earlier.

Consideration of products from these “other” vendors spiked to 88% for those docs in the solo or small-group market (up to 10 physicians).

Simply put, it is a market that is still expanding and not yet consolidating.

“It is amazing to see the rise of solutions being considered outside of the top 11,” Titensor said. “You can see that in the ONC numbers and the number of private venture capital groups getting into the business. It’s just a market in total upheaval.”

So, I asked Titensor, do you think it’s possible there’s an EHR out there in that herd of 602 “other” EHRs not in your top 11 that’s the “killer app” in the making, one that may one day challenge today’s market leaders?

He said he’s had conversations with several CEOs of name brand companies and “they’re very cognizant of the fact there is somebody out there who could replace them.”

“I’m sure there is somebody in the weeds,” Titensor said. “I just can’t say who it is. I just don’t know.”

-Renee

Renee Brannan is Director of Sales and Marketing at HIT Consulting Jobs.  She can be reached at renee@hitconsultingjobs.com

Personal Selling Tips for the Healthcare IT Professional

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Sheila Rogers, Founder and CEO

Whether we like it or not, personal selling is important in any profession.  In HIT, we need to sell ideas and concepts, strategies and solutions.  Our “buyers” include bosses and co-workers.  Here are some personal selling tips that may help you today, or sometime in the near future:

1) Be sincere with people. People are smart and see right through insincerity. If you are not sincere and honest with everyone you meet then you should not be selling anything.

2) Sell what you believe in. If you do not have a passion what you are selling you will not be happy–or very successful.

3) It is vitally important to constantly hone your sales and communications skills. Continuous growth and training in formal professional selling techniques is also very important. Take training classes, listen to professional development audio podcasts and seminars, read all the professional development material you can get your hands on, and start a program of self-study and development in sales today if you haven’t already.

4) First listen to your “customer”, understand his or her wants and needs, and only then try to determine whether or not you can deliver the product or services to meet those wants and needs. If you approach a prospect with a solution before understanding the problem you are likely to be wrong about the solution.

5) The best sales people ask a lot of questions and genuinely listen to the answers before speaking again.  (This is probably the reason we have two ears and one mouth!)

6) Your “customers” are all different so you should treat them differently.

Remember, personal selling is a lot like a first impression…you only get one shot before an opinion is made.  So, put your best foot forward in selling yourself, the ideas you have and the solutions you can offer in HIT.  Good Luck!

-Sheila Rogers

Sheila Rogers is Founder and CEO of HIT Consulting Jobs.  She can be reached at 214-929-8959, or sheila@hitconsultingjobs.com.

CMS Releases HIT Progress Fact Sheet

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently released a fact sheet detailing the progress of healthcare IT in relation to the HITECH Act. This fact sheet provides current statistics and highlights the CMS and the ONCs’ accomplishments in implementing health IT.

According to CMS.gov, here are some key points of the progress to date:

Robust Participation in the EHR Incentive Programs:

  • Hospital Participation: More than 85 percent of eligible hospitals are participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, and more than 75 percent have received incentive payments for meaningfully using EHR technology as of March 2013.
  • Physicians and other Health Care Provider Participation: More than 388,000 of the nation’s eligible professionals have registered to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, representing 73 percent of all providers eligible to participate. More than 230,000, or 44 percent of all eligible professionals, have received an EHR incentive payment for meaningfully using EHR technology as of March 2013.
  • Assistance from Regional Extension Centers: HITECH funds established 62 Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to offer technical assistance and guidance that is critical to accelerating the provider adoption and meaningful use of EHRs, particularly in rural areas and other underserved settings.
    • RECs are providing assistance and support to more than 44 percent (130,000) of primary care providers and 48 percent (20,000) of Nurse Practitioners nationwide.
    • More than 80 percent of all Federally Qualified Health Centers are enrolled with a REC.
  • Effect on the Health IT Marketplace: Federal investment and standard setting have helped to create a robust market for eHealth IT products. As of March 2013, there are 941 vendors providing more than 1,700 unique certified EHR products.

 

Rapid Adoption of Advanced Technology: Survey data shows that the HITECH Act has dramatically accelerated providers’ use of key health IT capabilities nationwide:

  • E-Prescribing: Office-based physicians’ use of e-prescribing has increased from 0.8 percent in December 2006 to 53 percent through January 2013, and more than 94 percent of all pharmacies are now actively e-prescribing.
  • Hospitals:  between 2008 and 2012, the number of hospitals using EHR systems with certain advanced functionalities that go even beyond the requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 1 (including physician clinical notes and electronic imaging results) more than quadrupled from 9.4 percent to 44 percent.  
  • Doctors: Physician adoption of EHR systems with the same advanced functionalities more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, from 17 percent to 40 percent.

 

Economic Impact:

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50,000 health IT-related jobs have been created since HITECH was enacted.
  • As of January 2013, community colleges have trained 17,049 professionals in health IT, and as of September 2012, universities had graduated over 820 post-graduate and masters-level health IT professionals. This is the result of four ONC-supported workforce development programs that are helping to train the new health IT workforce to meet the increased demand for these workers.
  • As of February 2013, the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs have paid $12.6 billion in incentives to hospitals, doctors, and other health care professionals.

 

You can read more details of the fact sheet here.

Traveling Weekly for Work ~ What is it REALLY like?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

<Cherie Lester with EngageMeHIT (www.engagemehit.blogspot.com) wrote this great blog — Thanks Cherie - Sheila>

Over the past 5 years I have spoken to hundreds of EMR Professionals that want to enter the world of the traveling consultant.  Most consultants in our industry will travel weekly on a Mon-Thurs or Sun-Thurs schedule with exceptions for longer stays on a client site or variable remote work. 

When discussing the nature of weekly travel to a “newbie” I have learned to play devil’s advocate.  The first person I ever interviewed when I entered into the HCIT Industry had never traveled before.  He assured me that he “LOVED” to travel and was totally “psyched” about the opportunity.  Six months into his engagement he called me to resign, said he couldn’t take the weekly travel any longer.

 Recently I discussed the riggers of weekly travel with some seasoned road warriors.  Below are results of the Q & A from those discussions:

What made you decide to start traveling for work? Most Frequent Responses:  Higher Income.  New Surroundings and co-workers with each new engagement. Enjoy travel & seeing new locations.

What was the hardest adjustment you had to make when you transitioned into traveling weekly for work? Most Frequent Responses: Being away from family(pets). Missing out on family or other functions (weekly bowling or child’s plays etc) and having to leave spouse to do all the work. Navigating the airports, luggage, flight delays, airport security etc.

What do you wish all consulting/staffing firms offered that would make your travel life easier for you?

This question received the most diverse answers, some of the most frequent responses were:  Corporate Credit Card for travel, better discounts on hotel, car, flights etc.  Occasionally paying for spouse to travel, like over the holiday work weeks etc., better assistance for new travelers, even something simple like a handbook with traveling suggestions.

What did you have to give up when you started traveling weekly?  The number one answer was time with family and friends, some other responses were: freedom to join sports leagues or meet friends for dinner once a week during the week, and for single folks: having a pet, being home during bad weather (someone had a water-main break in sub zero temps and didn’t realize until they got home days later) and being in one place so it’s easier to start a romantic relationship.

What did you gain from becoming a traveling consultant?  Some of the top answers for this question were:  better income, seeing out of town family & relatives more, greater independence, being able to travel to new places, less stress, meeting new people, and quiet time at the hotel in the evenings.

Here are a list of tips from the road warriors:

1.  Pack Light!  Learn to pack everything you need for the week into a carry-on bag.

2.  When traveling coast to coast, find extended stay hotels and if you travel home, leave most of your belongings at the hotel during your absence.

3.  You can bring your pet, just check for local pet friendly hotels.

4.  Always have an extra charger (computer, phone, iPod etc) handy.

5.  Make sure your ID, discount cards, credit cards etc are kept in the same place, are always handy and are in a front pocket for safe keeping.

6.  Keep a folder or file or zippered pouch for all your travel receipts so they’re easy to locate at the end of the week for the purpose of scanning and emailing or mailing to your employer. (if you’re 1099, for tax purposes)

7.  Set up a calendar alert to remind you to log your time & file your expense receipts each week.

8.  Know the name and number to your employers IT Helpdesk in case you have problems with your company issued lap top.

9. Whenever possible do not wear a belt, difficult to remove shoes, hair pins, excessive jewelry, etc so that you can move through airport security quickly.  Make sure your laptop is housed in a safe but easy to manipulate bag, keep your pockets empty etc.

10. If you are single and live alone, make sure you have a neighbor or relative that can check on your place of residence in your absence.

11.  Provide neighbors and relatives the name and number of your hotel, along with your cell phone so they can easily contact you in case of an emergency.

12.  Have the number of your direct boss, a company co-worker and your direct report at the client hospital programmed into your cell phone, that way if your flight is delayed you will be able to alert people of your delay.

Social Media Explained for Healthcare IT

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Sheila Rogers, Founder and CEO

We all know that social and business media is exploding online.  The HIT industry is no exception.

I was at a seminar the other day, and the speaker used this simple example to explain social media:

  • Twitter – I am eating a hamburger
  • Facebook – I like hamburgers
  • FourSquare – This is where I eat hamburgers
  • Instagram – Here is a vintage picture of my hamburger
  • YouTube – Here is a video of me eating my hamburger
  • LinkedIn – My skills include eating hamburgers
  • Pinterest – Here is a hamburger recipe
  • LastFM – Now listening to hamburgers

A couple years ago, I knew very little about these tools.  Today, I am considered an “expert” by some.

I encourage you to get on the train!  Healthcare IT will continue to grow the use social media to inform, educate, motivate and recruit.

-Sheila Rogers

Sheila Rogers is Founder and CEO of HIT Consulting Jobs, and can be reached at 214-929-8959, or via email at sheila@hitconsultingjobs.com.

Women in Health IT: 25 Percent Hold Senior-level Positions

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Healthcare IT News published an interesting article as they analyzed the number of women in senior health IT roles. I hadn’t given this statistic much thought in the past, but working for a primarily woman-owned business currently that caters to the health IT industry, I found the information a bit surprising.

The organization analyzed over 3,000 senior health IT roles nationwide and found that only 25% were occupied by women. The numbers were slightly higher when looking at the HIMSS Analytics Stage 6 and Stage 7 hospitals, where women held leadership roles at 45% and 48%, respectively. 

The research also detailed the number of women in executive health IT leadership roles by state. Rhode Island produced the highest number, while Nevada had the fewest.

Top 5 best states

  1. Rhode Island – 56%
  2. Vermont – 44%
  3. District of Columbia – 39%
  4. Connecticut – 39%
  5. Wisconsin – 36%

Top 5 worst states

  1. Nevada – 4%
  2. Alaska – 8%
  3. New Mexico – 9%
  4. Utah  10%
  5. New Hampshire – 12%

You can read more from the article here.


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