Below is a blog post from Sarai Tsai of careinnovators about Propel Careers Healthcare IT panel.
Earlier this week we attended Propel Career's networking and panel discussion entitled "Career Paths and Emerging Trends in Healthcare IT Organizations" at the Hult International Business School. Roughly 45 people attended and continued to network for an hour after the panel ended. We really enjoyed the size of the event – large enough to meet new people but small enough that everyone was accessible. And if you're a health care student at any level, you had low-key face time with the entire panel of top-level entrepreneurs.
Propel is hosting another event on March 25 on Personalized Medicine, and careinnovators' co-founder Chris will be the moderator.
Panelists were Tom Arneman, Ceiba Solutions; Joseph Holtschlag, athenahealth; Paul Bleicher, Humedica; and Jim Martin, GGA Software. Iya Khalil, Gene Network Sciences, moderated.
Keep reading for more some highlights from the panel.
Iya asked the panel what emerging trends they have noticed. Jim has observed cross collaboration among industries, academics to pharma, pharma to health it. For pharma, the low hanging fruit is already gone, and companies are dealing with expiring patents. Now they have to either specialize or reach out to academics. There have been a lot of strategic acquisitions of biotech companies, particularly in Boston.
Paul thinks firms are trying to do more for less and believes that primary care will be handled more often by nurses and physician assistants in future. He helped start Humedica for the chance to move the needle more by incorporating clinical data.
careinnovators asked what areas of health IT are good for job seekers new to the industry. Paul said "Opportunity is just about everywhere. You can find opportunities in new unexplored areas, particularly if you're an entrepreneur. For example, there's an interesting opportunity to bring clarity to talks about health costs and payments to different providers. The information used to be in the hands of insurance firms but now it's open to all."
The panelists also offered some career advice. Both Tom and Paul agreed that employees who are really successful will extend themselves outside of IT. A stand-out predictor of success among interviewees is that those folks understand the business strategy of the company and ask relevant questions beyond the technical.
Joseph suggested getting on the speaking circuit immediately. Submit to everything! And if you're going to be in healthcare, he emphasized that it's very important to understand the flow and value of money. Health care has a complicated system, and you need to be familiar with how the system works in order to be better at your job. athenahealth's reason for success is that their job is to guarantee that their provider clients get paid, while others just guarantee that their software works. Make a very clear value proposition where you generate money for the client.
When asked how life science IT differs from other IT fields, Paul remarked that the industry hasn't been as pressured to be efficient like in financial services. As a result, the industry fell 10 years behind in how it uses technology. They are generally less sophisticated buyers. Jim agreed and said that life sciences could benefit from an infusion of technology. For instance, pharma has created call centers for patients and keeps them close by and domestic. That's an opportunity for IT development and products. Reimbursement issues are also a big topic.