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healthcare
3

healthcare

healthcare

(OP)

I've noticed that the ads for data analysts or report writers for healthcare related jobs nearly always say that they require 5+ years of specific experience in the healthcare industry.

I do send my resume anyway since I have everything else they seem to want.  I actually get a pretty good response rate on ads in just about any other industry, regardless of whether or not I have actually worked in that industry.  Recruiters occasionally call me for the healthcare jobs, but I have never gotten a response from sending a resume.

So here is the question, what is it about healthcare that makes it so hard to convince them that your SQL, report writing and database skills are transferable?  

Is it just that there are so many unemployed people out that that the can be that specific?  That doesn't make sense to me because other industries do not seem so cliquey.

Does anyone have any idea why this is or what it is that industry experience adds in this case that is so very critical?

Thank you
Ve
 

RE: healthcare

Quote:


So here is the question, what is it about healthcare that makes it so hard to convince them that your SQL, report writing and database skills are transferable?  

Usually it's not anything specific to IT at all.  Even a position in data entry, alone, requires specific healthcare industry related experience.  This usually ends up being one of those technical school style degrees that require 1-2 years in order to accomplish.

The medical record keeping requirements are complex enough that there are schooling requirements and the like over that (as well as an alphabet soup of certifications for it).  Any medical record keeping position (IT related or not) requires a complete understanding of the ICD coding system (wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICD-10), which is the record keeping system used to keep track of medical issues.  As well, an underlying understanding of the concepts that are illustrated in ICD (terminology) is required as well as a few other things (full understanding of requirements for medical related laws) to be able to interact well with the doctors/nurses/etc that are involved.

Furthermore, this fact usually comes out in that most healthcare-related IT folk I've met are health care professionals cross-trained into the IT parts rather than IT professionals cross-trained into the health side.  It's easier for them to go health-care to IT instead of the other way around.  That even goes for the simpler IT functions.

The simple answer to your post is that you're jumping into something that requires a degree/certification that you don't have.  

Hopefully that explains it well enough.  I had to research this myself because many people I've encountered in my own search for work thought they were being helpful by pointing me to "medical coding" positions.  They didn't understand that it has nothing to do with IT at all, in most cases.

I'm waiting for the white paper entitled "Finding Employment in the Era of Occupational Irrelevancy"

RE: healthcare

(since this doesn't edit, I forgot a point, which I'll add now)

Quote (me):


The simple answer to your post is that you're jumping into something that requires a degree/certification that you don't have.  

The experience requirement you mention is related to this degree/certification more than it is anything IT related.

I'm waiting for the white paper entitled "Finding Employment in the Era of Occupational Irrelevancy"

RE: healthcare

(OP)

Thank you.  That makes sense, though you would think they would mention that degree/cert or equivalent like they specify other things.

ve

RE: healthcare

If you match everything else they want then it doesn't hurt to give them a call to talk about it.  Convince them of your brilliance & you could at least get an interview out of it.  Also, certainly within the UK, if you can get your foot in the door then it's a lot easier to then move around & get what you really want than it is to go straight into the "perfect" job.

"Your rock is eroding wrong." -Dogbert

RE: healthcare

==> what is it about healthcare that makes it so hard to convince them that your SQL, report writing and database skills are transferable?
I don't think it's just the health care industry.  I think most industries like to see industry-related experience because its shows a familiarity with the industry, the vernacular, and problems unique to those environments.

Secondly, it's normal to list all desirable qualifications to reduce the candidate pool and finally, the industry experience may function as a tie-breaker.  If you're looking for an IT/database/reporting person and you have three candidates, all with equivalent skill-sets, then the one with the most industry related experience has an edge.
 

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RE: healthcare

Quote:

what is it about healthcare that makes it so hard to convince them that your SQL, report writing and database skills are transferable?

The FDA has some regulations in the IT field. All medical data should be traceable (who edited it and when, and what were the changes). Also some data is considered harmful to privacy or sometimes to neutrality in processing the results.

This is not rocket science, however, just common sense and the notion that you are indirectly (possibly) dealing with human lives. So if you have worked before with medical data, that is an advantage. If not, you should be able to learn the rules like anyone else.
 

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: healthcare

in one word, HIPPA.

There are some very stringent IT rules and regulations that the medical industry has that no one else has.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: healthcare

(OP)

Thanks everyone.  My gut feeling still agrees with what DonQuichote said, but there has to be something else.

So, if someone like me who had around 10 yrs of data analyst/database experience wanted to transition to the same role in healthcare, specifically what cert or other training would they need to get their foot in the door?

thank you

RE: healthcare

You could try working around the edges of the health care industry. For instance, I work for a company that does meeting planning for pharmaceuticals. That can get you contacts inthe industry and we all know it's easier to get into an industry if you have contacts.

But I'd say one of your best bets would be to look for a HIPPA training course. The rules to be HIPPA complaint are very stringent. All health care organizations have to apply them. Once you have some knowldege of HIPPA, you can talk to how your knowledge can be of benefit in meeting those rules. Things like encrypting and decryping data, managing persmissions, setting up or querying audit tables, etc.  

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: healthcare

Quote:


in one word, HIPPA.

Incorrect.  The industry is as I described long before HIPPA ever came along.  The simple fact is that if you can't function with the medical terminology, data, and dealing with the "customers" that you are involved with on their level, then you are useless to the position.  This is nothing different than having to understand financial concepts to work with IT in the finance industry.  Taking any "HIPPA course" that someone decides to cook up will NOT get your foot in the door any more than it would have been before hand.  

As was stated, and has been told to me by those in the know, it is much easier to teach a medical professional "SQL, report writing, and database administration" in this area than it is to teach
an IT professional all the things they would need to function in the medical IT position (which HIPPA is only a VERY small part of it).

Quote (VE):


That makes sense, though you would think they would mention that degree/cert or equivalent like they specify other things.

It's assumed as it is with anything.  To stay with the medical thing, if someone is hiring for a nurse, they aren't going to say "holds accredited nursing degree of the class we are looking for, has passed the state boards, and is licensed to practice in this state" in the ad.  All of that is simply implied by the statement that they are looking for a nurse.  In essence, you would show your ignorance of the position if you were to apply without knowing those things.

I'm waiting for the white paper entitled "Finding Employment in the Era of Occupational Irrelevancy"

RE: healthcare

(OP)
Thank you again everyone.

I was thinking originally in terms of the "customer" of this sort of position being an administrator or finance manager or some sort of insurance billing manager.  

When thinking about the "customer" as the actual doctors and nurses this really does make a big difference.

I have worked very successfully with sales, engineering, finance, document control, manufacturing, payroll and operations managers in several different industries, and while the different groups do have different focuses and needs, they are all very familiar and similar from industry to industry.

I have to admit that I have no idea what a doctor or nurse would want to see or how they would ask for it.  So this really is, for me, the answer to my question.  The rules and HIPAA, while they may be complicated, I think would not be that big of a deal to learn for someone who works with data and business logic all the time anyway, but communicating with nurses and doctors I think would be like learning a very different, new language.  

VE

RE: healthcare

VE,

There's different areas in healthcare reporting as well. Since you mentioned you had experience in finance reporting, you could go that route.  Healthcare has finance systems to record charges, payments, adjustments, etc. that needs to be reported off of.

Once you have experience there, you could transition over to the practice mananagement and electronic medical record side.

Also healthcare is pretty broad, hospital reporting knowledge doesn't directly transfer over to clinic reporting.

Pay attention to DonQuichote's post...depending on your role in the reporting system, some of the most important details are the audit tracking and ensuring the quality of your report (You are dealing indirectly with peoples lives).

RE: healthcare

Quote:

in one word, HIPPA.

There are some very stringent IT rules and regulations that the medical industry has that no one else has.

I'm not familiar with HIPPA, but I am familiar with HIPAA, and I disagree completely.  They are not very strict rules and regulations, they are very VAGUE guidelines around access to protected health information.  They are intentionally vague because they have to apply to multi-billion dollar insurance companies and health systems as well as your local family physician.  They also have to be general enough to still be relevant over time.  It's far more about process than anything else.

I've worked for a half dozen hospitals over the years, and while there are some aspects of healthcare IT that are essentially identical to other business sectors (general infrastructure, PC support, server and network administration, etc), there are other areas that are widely different.  Analyst-type positions (and those tend to be the report-writer types) almost always require a degree of specialized knowledge, whether it's around workflow, insurance reimbursement, etc.  In any analyst position it is important to have an understanding of the business, and in healthcare that usually means experience in clinical environments, if not nursing or physician credentials.  It is far more common for them to come into healthcare IT than for general IT people to work their way into healthcare IT.

________________________________________
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RE: healthcare

You might want to consider sneaking in the back door, as it were, in the insurance industry. Once you learn the basics of insurance-related programming (in a non-healthcare related type of insurance), you might be able to make a parallel move into heath insurance, and you will pick up HIPAA knowledge along the way. Ideally, target an insurance company that deals with health and non-health insurance types.

-- Francis
I'd like to change the world, but I can't find the source code.

RE: healthcare

Having had an IT job in a medical related industry, and my wife having been in the medical industry for almost 10 years, I would say it is less HIPPA than it is industry knowledge.  Everything in the medical industry is driven by codes and if you aren't familiar with the codes and what codes are used where.  In my job I became fairly knowledgable with NDC Codes, I haven't worked with them in a few years but have still been offered jobs where NDC codes are utlized.

RE: healthcare

Having worked in the medical / healthcare industry for over half my career, I would say it's a balance of both.

HIPAA knowledge and understanding is important; and I wouldn't say that it's necessarily vague.  The problem that I have run into at times is that people interpret HIPAA regulations like reading the bible... they take a phrase from here, a phrase from there, out of context, then say "So what this is saying...."

This got so bad at my last job that I actually had the regulations on my computer; which I read in its entirety, just so when someone came in and said "That's a HIPAA regulation", I could pull it up and say "Show me."

However, terminology is different in the Healthcare industry as well; beyond just privacy regulations.

Now, I'm working for an environmental laboratory and consultant group (I think, honestly, I'd rather be in healthcare again)... but I had to learn an entirely new vocabulary.  Now it's about methods, and the Pollution Control Agency, and analytes.

I agree with MDXer; it's about industry knowledge, and how that knowledge relates to IT skills.

In other words; just as you would need an understanding of accounting to write / support an accounting system, you need an understanding of healthcare to work in that field as well.

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

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