A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking Into Health TechJanuary 3, 2018 No Comments
Featured article by Cher Zavala, Independent Technology Author
Technology is important in nearly every aspect of modern life, from communicating with friends and family to completing essential work tasks. However, nowhere is technology more vital than in healthcare, where physicians and patients rely on high-tech machines and tools to perform tests, make diagnoses, and administer treatments. While a new smartphone or a high-performing network might be advantageous in other fields, it is inarguable that developing health tech is a noble effort that deserves high praise and prestige.
Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to get involved in health technology. Because human lives are at stake, potential health tech professionals must be carefully trained and certified; thus, the process of entering the health tech field can seem complicated. Here is a step-by-step guide to help health tech hopefuls break into the industry.
From a Clinical Position
Typically, it is easier for anyone with prior experience in the health care field to find other positions in health care, even when it comes to health tech. Clinicians tend to find the transition into health tech fields relatively simple and direct because clinical knowledge is so valuable to health tech and difficult to acquire. Plus, health tech careers often seem preferable to clinical careers, which are more grueling can be less rewarding.
While knowledge of health care is rare and advantageous, it isn’t the only attribute necessary to succeed in health tech. Clinicians also need to be comfortable using technology — which typically means they should be younger and/or capable of gaining new skills. Additionally, clinicians interested in transitioning to health tech should be familiar with how health care organizations function and have strong business and interpersonal skills, which will help them accomplish tasks and earn promotions in their new career paths.
Before transitioning, it might be beneficial to complete an advanced education program related to health tech. Valuable fields of study beneficial to health tech include informatics, biomedical engineering, health care administration, compliance training, and more. Many graduate and certification programs are available over the internet, such as biomedical engineering online, meaning clinicians can fit their preparations into their current schedules. Armed with enthusiasm, health care experience, and appropriate skills, clinicians can then seek employment in health tech at health tech businesses or health care facilities, like hospitals.
Undoubtedly, there are challenges to transitioning from a clinical role to a health tech role. The most significant one is the change in culture. The clinical culture is one of rigidity, where there is a well- established procedure for every intent and every step should be documented and repeatable. Meanwhile, tech culture is fluid and ever-changing, where there might not be established courses of action and where creativity is highly valued. Whereas clinicians tend to resist change, health tech professionals must be willing and eager to usher change by constantly improving technology and processes. With time, clinicians should be able to adapt to this environment — or else they won’t succeed as health tech professionals.
From a Tech Position
Because health tech is a swiftly growing field, there is substantial competition for new jobs. Unfortunately, those who lack clinical experience are less valuable, meaning it is much more difficult to enter the health tech field for tech professionals. Fortunately, it isn’t impossible.
The key is obtaining necessary education and training as well as nailing the interview process. Hopefuls should, at the very least, have a bachelor’s degree in a field related to tech or health care. Advanced degrees are beneficial as long as they are in appropriate fields. For those coming lacking health care experience, useful degrees include: Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Biomedical Engineering, Master of Health Care Administration, and more. Further, tech professionals should strive to maintain their technical certifications, especially CISSP, CCNA, and PMP, which are in high-demand in health tech.
The interview stage is make-or-break when it comes to tech professionals obtaining health tech positions. Health tech functions as a support for the real stars (and moneymakers) of health care: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and similar health care providers. Thus, the more a tech professional can emphasize the importance of meeting the needs of health care providers, the better. During the interview, applicants should focus on improving efficiency of health care systems, which will increase their profitability and effectiveness of care.
Technology is rapidly changing health care. For more than a decade, health tech has been one of the fastest growing industries, providing amazing career opportunities for those inside and outside health care. With the right transition, anyone can obtain a lasting career in health tech.HEALTH IT