From the growth of outpatient care to the transition away from a fee-for-service model, we’ve extensively covered the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) impact on the healthcare industry. However, one trend that is quickly gaining speed is the demand for technologically savvy nursing professionals.
“In its effort to reduce costs while improving the quality of care, many ACA initiatives place a lot of emphasis on technology,” says Amanda Cruse, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division. “Since the deadlines to comply with these mandates are fast-approaching, many of our clients are in the process of implementing electronic medical record (EMR) systems, installing patient flow and medical billing/coding software, and updating their general infrastructure. However, in order for these organizations to successfully transition, they need the support of computer savvy staff members—especially their nurses.”
Regardless of whether you work in a clinical or administrative capacity, this skillset is quickly becoming a requirement for any nursing position. To increase your marketability, here are a couple of technical proficiencies that you’ll want to start with:
Electronic Medical Records
What was once an industry that relied heavily on paper-based documentation is now becoming increasingly digitalized through electronic medical records. “At some point, every healthcare organization is going to be using an EMR,” says Amanda. “In fact, many of our clients who are currently going through the transition are specifically looking for nurses who can come in and hit the ground running with their system.”
While these record keeping systems are becoming the norm, not all nurses have experience using these programs. As a result, those who take the initiative to learn this skill will find themselves at a powerful competitive advantage. To do this, Amanda suggests looking into a certification course, pursuing per diem work with organizations that use EMRs, or asking your current employer if you can gain some experience with the system they use.
“Once you acquire experience with at least one system, make sure that it is prominently displayed throughout your resume,” she advises. “Doing this is especially important when applying for temp roles as your prospective manager has to be able to trust that you can get started with little or no training. It can really make all the difference in whether or not you are eligible for an opportunity.”
Computer Programs + Typing
Another way to increase your marketability in this evolving industry is to take the initiative to improve your computer skills. “As a healthcare professional in this digital age, it’s important to understand how certain devices and systems work together to improve overall patient care,” notes Amanda. “To increase efficiencies, improve patient flow, and streamline reporting, many healthcare organizations are incorporating software like the Microsoft Office Suite into their systematic processes. For the organization to meet their operational goals, they need all of their staff to be on board and able to utilize this technology.”
While it wasn’t necessary for nurses to possess an aptitude for these programs just a few short years ago, today, it is almost critical. In fact, those who are resistant to learning these skills or who have become complacent in a role that isn’t allowing them to grow professionally, ultimately hurt their marketability in the long run. Strong typing skills are equally important, according to Amanda. “Since a large part of patient documentation requires you to type notes into an EMR system, the faster you can type, the better.”