Many entries available to health IT field

July 11, 2014 in Medical Technology

There is more than one pathway to becoming a healthcare IT professional. 

From following the university track and earning an advanced degree in information technology, to going through certificate training programs, many professionals have found success both ways. Nevertheless, no matter how they get there, there are certain things future healthcare IT professionals should keep in mind to guide their best practices and ensure success in whatever path they choose. 

James Deck, CEO of MTS Healthcare, has nearly two decades of experience specializing in healthcare IT. 

Here he responds to the most pertinent and most asked questions he’s heard about entering the health IT field. 

Deck offers his best advice for navigating a career in healthcare IT. 

Why healthcare IT?

I’ve always had a knack for software and how it fits into the bigger picture. Shortly after I started out, I completed the installation of an integrated operating room, aka Integrated OR, which linked several medical devices and an EHR together with software I helped create to dramatically improve the quality of care. The day after, dressed up in scrubs, I was able to see open-heart surgery and the results of everyone’s hard work right there on a TV screen. That was the day I found meaning to a career in healthcare IT. It’s about helping healthcare organizations perform at their very best, and how technology solutions can improve their quality of service.  

What career advice can you give to students interviewing for healthcare IT jobs?

Demonstrate what you can learn and how you will contribute and add value. It’s important to know what you’re talking about and vastly more important to be able to show how your specific skill set is valuable to the employer. 

What challenges will they encounter? 

The healthcare industry is very different from other industries. One of the biggest challenges of a career in healthcare IT is meeting and anticipating regulatory requirements. Another challenge will be understanding clinical data and the myriad of data standards that exist in healthcare. Without proper data standards, it will be impossible to understand and use health information effectively.

What advice would you give to others navigating a career in healthcare IT?

• Believe in yourself. It took me until I grew my company to more than $1 million in revenue with 12 full-time employees before I truly believed in myself and my ability to lead. I was convinced the company would go under at any moment, and it really affected my decisions. Have faith in your abilities.  

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