There’s high growth when it comes to temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers within health IT. New technologies, digital trends and requirements, cost factors, and the need for experienced health IT talent to take on a number of projects are fueling this growth. The rise and growth of the contingent workforce is only expected to accelerate over the next few years into 2018.
This dynamic shift to a contingent workforce makes sense for healthcare organizations and the benefits are well worth it. With a contingent workforce, healthcare organizations experience a big efficiency boost and derive a substantial cost savings in these ways:
- They can “dial up” or “dial down” staffing as needed without having to pay FTE benefits.
- Outsourced experienced Health IT professionals might be lifesavers when it comes to coding efforts and projects.
- Specialized expertise will be able to assist healthcare facilities meet both Meaningful Use and ICD-10 requirements.
- Improved visibility and provider stays in control through the use of struc
tured reporting, governance processes, and dashboards.
- Internal resources are freed-up to focus on higher priority clinical facing initiatives such as workflow optimization.
For health IT professionals, contingency work in the health IT space is very attractive since opportunities are plentiful and the remuneration is desirable. In addition, work is becoming more knowledge and project-based and therefore, causing healthcare organizations to become increasingly reliant on their specialized health IT skills and expertise. According to Black Book Rankings Healthcare (http://www.blackbookrankings.com/healthcare/), this reliance will help to fuel the growth of the global health IT outsourcing market, which should hit $50.4 billion by 2018.
As a healthcare consultant staffing firm, Direct Consulting Associates is often asked by HIT professionals how to join the contingent workforce and how to prepare. Here are a few suggestions:
Identify the niche where you have skills and expertise. Just having an interest in computers does not make you an IT Consultant. You must have the knowledge and experience coupled with a strong desire to succeed.
Obtain the required certifications. To be in demand, you must obtain formal training and required certifications from recognized institutions.
Build your network and brand yourself. It’s important to start building your network once you’ve decided to be a consultant. A strong contact base will help you connect with the resources needed in order to find work. Also, position yourself as an expert, someone that an organization cannot do without. Now, combine both a professional network and social network to help you spread with word faster.
Target your market and location. Determine what type of facility or organization you want to work with and once decided, think about location. Do you want to work in your current geographic location only or are you willing to relocate or commute via airline to and from work?
Decide whether to go solo or engage with a consulting and staffing firm. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit and want to approach a specific organization directly for a long-term gig, you might want to go solo. However, if you’re open to both short-term and long-term opportunities in various locations, a consultant staffing firm might be the answer.
The rise of a contingent workforce will only continue to grow and with it, much opportunity. A consultant or contractor has more freedom than a regular employee to circulate within their professional community and to take more jobs in more challenging environments. For healthcare facilities, a contingent workforce means acquiring the HIT talent expertise needed without the overhead costs associated with payroll benefits and administration. No doubt, a win-win situation for both.
Frank Myeroff is President, Direct Consulting Associates.