As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, an increasing number of healthcare providers are investing more resources into new technology to improve patient care. As a result, an industry that historically relied on paper-based documentation, has slowly transitioned to utilizing Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to store, share, and analyze health information.
While these Health IT mandates are still being implemented by healthcare facilities across the nation, this has had a direct impact on the types of technical skills employers need in prospective candidates. Amanda Cruse, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Health Services division, has witnessed firsthand the shift in client demand, particularly for health professionals that possess strong working knowledge of various computer programs and EMR systems.
“One of the best ways to avoid falling behind the evolution of healthcare technology and increase your marketability in today’s digital age is to take the initiative to improve your computer skills,” says Amanda. “Whether you are brushing up on Microsoft Excel, or simply learning how to type faster, anything that can help you provide better patient care with increased speed and efficiency using technology, may help to separate yourself from competition.”
Just a few short years ago, it wasn’t necessary for clinical or non-clinical roles to possess an aptitude for using certain programs and systems. Today, however, it is almost critical for long-term success. For example, some of the most widely used EMR systems include: Epic, Siemens, QuadraMed, or Allscripts. For those looking to get noticed by prospective employers, it’s important that you keep track of what you use and highlight these EMR systems on your resume. “Including these skills on your resume not only helps your professional image on paper, but it also increases your chances of getting a call back if you’re applying to a facility that uses the EMR system you have experience with,” highlights Amanda.
Since both clinical and non-clinical roles need to be computer savvy, you need to ensure you’re comfortable using a variety of technologies. For example, Home Health Care Nurses should be comfortable using iPads and iPhones to input patient information. Along similar lines, RNs should familiarize themselves with the different types of “codes” that exist for various medical situations and how to respond accordingly. “As healthcare providers continue to move with the flow of technology, brushing up on your computer skills is key to excelling in today’s market,” notes Amanda.
While it can be easy to assume that everyone is computer savvy today, there are still some that generally struggle with technology. If you find yourself in this crowd, the best thing you can do for yourself is start with the basics. 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. In the end, whether you’ve been out of work for 2-3 years or want to find new ways to set yourself up for long-term success in the healthcare industry, be sure to proactively invest in sharpening your computer skills.