The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has undoubtedly changed the healthcare industry in more ways than one. For example, what was once an industry that relied heavily on paper-based documentation is now becoming increasingly digitalized through electronic medical records (EMR) and telehealth initiatives. With the goal of improving patient care, these healthcare IT mandates are being implemented by healthcare facilities across the nation. However, in order for these organizations to successfully transition, they need the support of technologically savvy staff members – particularly nursing professionals.
“In this day and age, an increasing number of everyday nursing tasks require the use of computer technology, and as a result, many of our clients require that candidates possess at least some basic computing skills,” explains Amanda Bleakney, Senior Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division. “Regardless of whether you are in a clinical or non-clinical role, the more technologically savvy you are, the better. For an employer looking to hire, it can mean the difference between you and another candidate.”
Here are 4 elements to keep in mind in order to make yourself more marketable as a tech-savvy healthcare professional:
Electronic Medical Records (EMR): Although digital recordkeeping is becoming the norm, not all nursing professionals have experience using EMR programs. As a result, if you can position yourself as an expert in at least one program (e.g., EPIC, NextGen, eClinicalWorks, etc.), you can create a powerful competitive advantage for yourself. If you don’t have much experience working with EMRs, Amanda suggests taking the initiative to learn more about them, either through a certification course, online research, or by asking your current employer if you can gain some experience with the system they use. “It’s important to become comfortable with your ability to input information and navigate the system in a timely and efficient manner,” says Amanda. “The more accustomed you are to these programs, the more you will stand out to hiring managers and healthcare recruiters.”
Healthcare Management: If you are a nursing professional who aspires to transition into a more administrative role, it is imperative to have a working knowledge of various information management computer systems such as AthenaCollector or eClinicalWorks’ Practice Management system. For example, some positions at the executive level will require you to utilize your medical expertise in addition to your knowledge of these management systems to find data-driven solutions to improve workflow and continuity of care. “Employers are interested in healthcare professionals who not only have highly specialized skills on the clinical side, but who also can understand healthcare-related processes and integrate technology to help providers and patients alike,” explains Amanda.
Computer Programs and Typing: As a healthcare professional in this digital age, it’s important to understand the big picture of how certain devices and systems work together to improve overall patient care. One way to avoid falling behind the evolution of healthcare technology and increase your marketability in general is to take the initiative to improve your computer skills. Amanda suggests less computer savvy candidates take computer classes in order to gain a working knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.), or any other programs commonly used in a healthcare setting. She also recommends taking free online typing tests, which may help to improve note taking abilities. “Faster typing skills are an asset in many professional environments, but since a large part of patient documentation consists of typing notes into an electronic medical records system, the faster you can type, the more proficient you can be in your role.”
Resume Search Optimization: While it’s important to continue learning as you grow in your career, one of the best ways to separate your computer skill set from other job seekers is by clearly highlighting the programs and systems you’ve learned in an easy-to-read format on your resume. For example, if you have experience using the EMR system EPIC, make sure this is clearly displayed on your resume so that you can be found by the employers seeking that skill. “Including these skills on your resume not only helps your professional image on paper, but also increases your chances of being found by healthcare recruiters and hiring managers searching for resumes using that particular keyword,” advises Amanda.