7 Important Soft Skills for Health IT Consultants

Frank Myeroffby Frank Myeroff, President, Direct Consulting Associates,  a Supporting Collaborator at the HIMSS Innovation Center

Google “soft skills” and you’ll find that they are defined as the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterize relationships with other people.

The health IT industry is emphasizing the value of soft skills, and today’s job candidates and project consultants are either landing or losing positions based on them. Health IT hiring managers regularly ask me about our consultant’s soft skills and consider them as important as their occupational and technological skills.

Therefore, in the event you are currently seeking a new health IT position, you will need to understand or even demonstrate that you have the right soft skills to be successful on the job. So my best advice to you…get in touch with your soft side and hone these skills quickly!

With that in mind, here are 7 top soft skills considered vital for health IT consultants:

1)    Excellent Communication Skills: Emphasis is being placed on IT professionals who are not only articulate but who are also active listeners and can communicate with any audience. Good communicators are able to build bridges with colleagues, customers and vendors.

2)    Strong Work Ethic: Organizations benefit greatly when their people are reliable, have initiative, work hard and are diligent. Workers exhibiting a good work ethic are usually selected for more responsibility and promotions.

3)    Positive Work Attitude: Wanting to do a good job and willing to work extra hours is highly valued. In general, a person having a positive work attitude is more productive and is always thinking how to make things easier and more enjoyable. Plus a positive attitude is catchy.

4)    Problem-Solving Skills: Today’s businesses want IT professionals who can adapt to new situations and demonstrate that they can creatively solve problems when they arise. To be considered for a management or leadership role, problem-solving skills are a must.

5)    Acting as a Team Player: Clearly, a worker who knows how to cooperate with others is an asset. They understand the importance of everyone being on the same page in order to achieve organizational goals.

6)    Dealing with Difficult Personalities: Businesses want people who are capable of handling all types of difficult people and situations. Health IT workers who succeed in this area are in great demand.

7)    Flexibility & Adaptability: The business and IT climates change quickly. Job descriptions are becoming more fluid. Therefore, professionals who are able to adapt to changing environments and take on new duties are becoming more valued in the workplace. Those who rely on technical skills alone limit how much they can contribute.

The importance of soft skills in a health IT environment cannot be stressed enough.  Healthcare organizations link them to job performance and career success. Having the right soft skills mean the difference between people who can do the job and those who can actually get the job done.

How have your perfected your soft skills?  Share your comments here on the HIMSS Blog.

Frank Myeroff is President, Direct Consulting Associates. 

This entry was posted in Health IT, Jobs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 7 Important Soft Skills for Health IT Consultants

  1. Audrey Lynne Hill says:

    Mr. Myeroff – you are exactly right. The only comment I could add would be to react and respond. When the customer calls, get up and go to that user as soon as possible and develop a relationship with that person to ensure they know you will be available to assistance. Of course if the users is at a remote location, response time would be the next best thing.
    Thank You

  2. Jason Bickford says:

    Have I perfected these soft skills? A big no and for most to think that they have is not thinking about how life changes at a very rapid pace. Excellent Communication Skills, we now need to be mindful of social tools such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Strong Work Ethic, we now need to be mindful of work/life balance and having constant access to work email. Positive Work Attitude, so much can be going on in our personal lives that it’s hard not to let stuff impact our attitude. Problem-Solving Skills, new challenges are constantly on the rise due to a dynamic HIT landscape. Acting as a Team Player, HIT staff are required to work more with Business owners to come up with right solution for the organization. Dealing with Difficult Personalities, we are human and this is to be expected and for some change is difficult. Flexibility & Adaptability, there are always shifting priorities, budgets, and resources.

  3. David Martin says:

    Soft skills are important for any IT consultant’s. The overall competence and ability of an IT consultant can be judged not only by his technical skills but also on his ability to communicate clearly with his co-workers and clients. Being a team player and having a collaborative attitude is another important criterion.

  4. I agree with David Martin. The consultant also needs to build trust.

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