Meet the Challenges of Healthcare Industry With Healthcare Solutions

The healthcare industry is going through a dramatic transformation. This transformation though challenging offers great prospects to improve efficacy and patient outcomes. Amidst several challenges, service providers are finding it difficult to provide quality care and services to patients. The role of IT in augmenting an organization’s efficiency while addressing current healthcare challenges is of paramount importance.

Healthcare software development refers to tools or software that can meet the growing needs of the healthcare industry, i.e. clinics, doctors, hospitals etc. A majority of healthcare companies look for solutions that can provide them with reliability, accuracy and time bound results. This will ensure proper maintenance of medical records.

Healthcare software solutions have changed the way workload was managed earlier. Considering the increasing demand and workload, software development companies have started devising solutions that can automate things and processes. These software development firms are equipped with state-of-the art infrastructural facilities. They make use of the latest systems, software and other advanced technologies to create the best customized healthcare solutions.

Some specific objectives that every healthcare service provider would like to fulfill include:

  1. Augmenting patient outcomes and methods to reduce waiting cycles
  2. Fulfilling significant use and other such regulatory requirements
  3. Improving communication between patient and service provider
  4. Mitigate risks by enhancing processes and quality assurance

Companies offering healthcare software development services constantly track, anticipate, evaluate and implement appropriate end to end solutions.These solutions can be utilized across different verticals such as Enterprise Application Development, Hospital Management System (HMS), Practice Management System, Billing & Coding Solution, Electronic Health Records Systems, Blood Bank Management Systems, Patient Management and Information System, and few more.

These solutions help patients and service providers to connect, communicate, and conform across functional, technical and regulatory aspects. In fact, many such companies are developing customized solutions for their clients depending on their needs.

Healthcare software development services include the following:

  1. Operational analysis and documentation of custom healthcare applications
  2. Technical architecture and designing of user-interface
  3. Development, testing and deployment
  4. Support and Maintenance

The objective of healthcare software development is to make the medical records manageable and accessible. The healthcare software solutions provide the capacity to store, manage and retrieve records for healthcare companies. They also provide solutions for streamlining numerous processes, to ensure hassle-free monitoring of patient’s health information.

The solutions created by healthcare software development firms are innovative, affordable, and easy to use. They benefit a wide range of healthcare industries. Healthcare providers can select from the comprehensive suite of healthcare solutions as per their needs.

Healthcare Executive Recruiting – Bet on the Horse or the Jockey?

Experience breeds intuition when it comes to healthcare executive recruiting. Does it work for horse racing too? I will not attempt to prove whether experience improves your outcome at the track. However, healthcare venture capitalists often use horse racing analogies when discussing ideal investments. These venture capitalists prefer to bet on the jockey versus the horse. Their logic, it’s the people that drive the business.

A healthcare venture capital firm’s success is dependent on their ability to recruit and retain a high-performing Jockey, a.k.a. “the CEO.” If it was only so easy to win The Kentucky Derby or deliver a ten-bagger return. My healthcare executive recruiting experience working with healthcare venture capital firms provides intuition in defining the firm’s CEO need. Once understood, identifying and recruiting the CEO and building a solid support team for the CEO requires experience, extensive networks, new and real-time research and a thorough process. The intent of this article is to offer outcome-driven insights for the healthcare venture capital firm that chooses to search internally for a portfolio CEO versus retaining a healthcare executive recruiting firm.

Recent quarters show an increased level of new capital investment from healthcare venture capital firms. The Health Care M&A Monthly reported in March 2008 that healthcare services deal volume in February 2008 totaled thirty completed deals. Looking back to 2007, total funding for healthcare venture capital deals was more than $9 billion across more than 480 deals. Healthcare venture capital investment increases the demand for these firms to conduct a thorough and accurate executive search process in order to identify, recruit and retain the CEO. While a healthcare venture capital firm often retains a healthcare executive recruiting firm to assist in CEO recruiting efforts, healthcare venture capital firms can mimic the search process of the top healthcare executive recruiting firms.

Insights from healthcare executive recruiting firm processes will lead to an improved exit:

1. Healthcare venture capital firms are committed to recruiting a proven CEO for the portfolio business and may occasionally be inclined to conduct an in-house CEO search process. The approach is to put a CEO in place that is known by the healthcare venture capital firm from previous experiences and business dealings. However, many times these healthcare venture capital firms will admit they “don’t know what they don’t know” about the business, the segment, or the pool of available CEO talent. However, if there was any doubt at the onset, it quickly becomes clear they need to bet on the jockey to run an unfamiliar race. It is at this point the firm should consider duplicating the search methodology that healthcare executive recruiting firms utilize for CEO assignments.

Healthcare executive recruiting firms are engaged to identify and recruit leading CEOs for high-growth, venture backed businesses. To reduce the risk of making a hiring mistake, a healthcare venture capital firm’s internal search process should assess those executives the firm knows and trusts in parallel with proven executives who are newly introduced to the healthcare venture capital firm. Ultimately the CEO may be selected from the firm’s personal rolodex. However, the value of benchmarking known CEOs against a broader CEO talent-pool will prove valuable.

2. CEO contingency and succession planning belongs early in the healthcare venture capital firm’s investment. Recruiting strategies to recruit key CEOs, senior leaders and board members are at the foundation for a portfolio company’s success. Common practice is for the healthcare venture capital firm to identify and recruit a seasoned and industry-experienced board member, one capable of leading the business if the current CEO cannot finish the race. The immediate need is fiduciary but both succession and contingency planning should be considered too. While some individuals believe that succession planning should be below the CEO, healthcare venture capital firms are interested in developing concepts and financial carry more so than developing future leadership talent. Therefore, succession and contingency planning belong in the board room for two reasons: one, if the CEO in place is successful the new board member can maintain his or her fiduciary duties. However, if the CEO loses control of the business or the market, this board member is engaged and able to step in immediately. This hedge strategy can be effective to dramatically reduce downside risk.

If the CEO loses control of the business or the market and the healthcare venture capital firm did not plan appropriately, there will be many sleepless nights. It’s during those sleepless nights when the unprepared healthcare venture capital firm will incorrectly pursue one of these three options:

o Retain a healthcare executive recruiting firm. However, the search is often initiated on quick sand as the healthcare venture capital firm needs to recruit a savior. Conversely, the venture capitalist may decide to avoid retaining a healthcare executive recruiting firm as it is perceived to be too cumbersome of a process during this time of panic. Neither scenario leads to a high-multiple exit.

o Turn to someone the healthcare venture capital firm knows from previous dealings. This option is not focused on growth but rather on building a floor to minimize investment loss.

o The healthcare venture capitalist will take over the business and act as CEO. My experiences say that poor planning and a subsequent reactionary jerk will not deliver a positive cash outcome.

The success of a risk-taking healthcare venture capital firm is based on hiring and recruiting the right Jockey for the business. While healthcare executive recruiting firms are often critical resources to venture firms, there are occasions when a healthcare venture capital firm chooses to conduct their CEO search internally. In those occasions, healthcare venture capital firms should mimic the proven search process of the top healthcare executive recruiting firms. Healthcare venture capital firms will benefit by conducting an unbiased and thorough executive search process tied to board level contingency and succession plans. This will develop strong businesses and deliver solid returns.

The New Approach to Healthcare Enterprise Information Management – EHR, EMR, EIM

Introduction –

The lack of a healthcare specific, compliant, cost-effective approach to Enterprise Information Management (aka EIM) is the #1 reason integration, data quality, reporting and performance management initiatives fail in healthcare organizations. How can you build a house without plumbing? Conversely, the organizations that successfully deploy the same initiatives point to full Healthcare centric EIM as the Top reason they were successful (February, 2009 – AHA). The cost of EIM can be staggering – preventing many healthcare organizations from leveraging enterprise information when strategically planning for the entire system. If this is prohibitive for large and medium organizations, how are smaller organizations going to be able to leverage technology that can access vital information inside of their own company if cost prevents consideration?

The Basics –

What is Enterprise Information Management?

Enterprise Information Management means the organization has access to 100% of its data, the data can be exchanged between groups/applications/databases, information is verified and cleansed, and a master data management method is applied. Outliers to EIM are data warehouses, such as an EHR data warehouse, Business Intelligence and Performance Management. Here is a roadmap, in layman terminology, that healthcare organizations follow to determine their EIM requirements.

Fact #1: Every healthcare entity, agency, campus or non-profit knows what software it utilizes for its business operations. The applications may be in silos, not accessible by other groups or departments, sometimes within the team that is responsible for it. If information were needed from groups across the enterprise, it has to be requested, in business terminology, of the host group, who would then go to the source of information (the aforementioned software and/or database), retrieve what is needed and submit it to the requestor – hopefully, in a format the requestor can work with (i.e., excel for further analysis as opposed to a document or PDF).

Fact #2: Because business terminology can be different WITHIN an organization, there will be further “translating” required when incorporating information that is gathered from the different software packages. This can be a nightmare. The gathering of information, converting it into a different format, translating it into common business terminology and then preparing it for consumption is a lengthy, expensive process – which takes us to Fact #3.

Fact #3: Consumers of the gathered information (management, analysts, etc) have to change the type of information required – one-off report requests that are continuously revised so they can change their dimensional view (like rotating the rows of a Rubik’s cube to only get one color grouped, then deciding instead of lining up red, they would really like green to be grouped first). In many cases, this will start the gathering process all over again because the original set of information is missing needed data. It also requires the attention of those that understand this information – typically a highly valued Subject Matter Expert from each silo – time-consuming and costly distractions that impact the requestor as well as the information owner’s group.

Fact#4: While large organizations can cope with this costly method in order to gather enough information to make effective and strategic business decisions, the amount of time and money is a barrier for smaller or cash strapped institutions, freezing needed data in its silo.

Fact #5: If information were accessible (with security and access controls, preventing unauthorized and inappropriate access), time frames for analysis improve, results are timely, strategic planning is effective and costs in time and money are significantly reduced.

Integration (with cleansing the data, aka Data Quality) should not be a foreign concept to the mid and smaller organizations. Price has been the overriding factor that prevents these tiers from leveraging enterprise information. A “glass ceiling”, solely based on being limited from technology because of price tag, bars the consideration of EIM. This is the fault of technology vendors. Business Intelligence, Performance Management and Data Integration providers have unknowingly created class warfare between the Large and SMB healthcare organizations. Data Integration is the biggest culprit in this situation. The cost of integration in the typical BI deployment is usually four times the cost of the BI portion. It is easy for the BI providers to tantalize their prospects with functionality and reasonable cost. But, when integration comes into play, reluctance on price introduces itself into the scenario. No action has become the norm at this point.

What are the Financial Implications for a Healthcare Organization by maintaining the status quo?

Fraud detection is the focal point for CMS in their EHR requirements of healthcare organizations, Let’s take a deeper, more meaningful look at the impact of EHR. Integration, a prominent component of Enterprise Information Management in the New Approach, brings data from all silos of the organization, allowing a Data Quality component to verify and cleanse it. The next step would be to either send it back to its originating source in an accurate state and/or put it into a repository where it will be accessible to auditing (think CMS Sanctions Auditors), Business Intelligence solutions, and Electronic Health Records applications. With instantly accessible EHRs, hospitals and their outlying practices can verify patients with payors, retrieve medical histories for diagnosis and treatment decisions, and update/add patient related information. What impact to treatment does a review of a new patient’s history have for both patient and practice? Here are some elements to consider:

1. Diagnosis and treatments that are based on previous patient dispositions – reducing recovery time, eliminating Medicare/Medicaid/Payor denials (based on their interpretation as to fault of the practitioner in original treatment or error incurring additional treatment).

2. Instant fraud detection of patients seeking treatment for the same malady across the practices within the organization. Prescription abuse and Medicare fraud saves money not only for the payors, but the healthcare organization as well.

3. The Association of Fraud Examiners states that 9% of a Hospital’s revenue each year is actually lost to fraud.

One overlooked but common impact is in the cost of managing patient records. Thousands of file folders in storage with new instances being added each time a new patient enters into the system. Millions of pieces of paper capturing patient information, payer data, charts, billing statements, and various items such as photo copies of patient IDs, are all stored in those folders. The folders are then stored in vast filing cabinets – constantly being accessed by filing clerks, nurses, practitioners and assorted staff. Contents of the files being misplaced or filed incorrectly. Hundreds, if not thousands, of square feet being consumed for storage. The AHA projects that an enterprise leveraging Electronic Health Records will recover no less than 15,000 square feet of usable space. That space can be used for additional services, opening up new channels of revenue. The justification is easy: how much would it cost the hospital to build out 15,000 square feet for a new service? The average cost to build space utilized for Health Services is $65 per square foot, or $975,000 total. An EIM solution through the New Approach would be less than 20% of that. Not only has the EIM solution reduced dollars lost to fraud, lowered the days for payor encounters to be paid, increased cash on hand, but it will also open up new services for the patient community and revenue back to the healthcare organization.

Electronic data is costly in its own way. Bad aka “Dirty” data has enormous impact. Data can be corrupted by error in data entry, systems maintenance, database platform changes or upgrades, feeds or exchanges of data in an incompatible format, changes in front end applications and fraud, such as identity theft. The impact of bad data has a cause and effect relationship that is pervasive in the financial landscape:

1. Bad data can result in payor denials. Mismatched member identification, missing DRG codes, empty fields where data is expected are examples of immediate denials of claims. The delay lowers the amount of Cash on Hand as well as extends the cycle of submitted claim to remittance by at least 30 days.

2. Bad data masks fraud. A reversal of digits in a social security number, a claim filed as one person for the treatment of another family member, medical histories that do not reflect all diagnosis and treatments because the patient could not be identified. Fraud has the greatest impact on cost of delivering healthcare in the United States. Ultimately, the health system has to absorb this cost – reducing profitability and limiting growth.

3. Bad data results in non-compliance. CMS has already begun the architecture and deployment of Sanctions Data Exchanges. These exchanges are a network of data repositories that are used to connect to health healthcare system, retrieve CMS related data, and store it for auditing. The retrieval will only be limited to the patient encounters that show a potential for denial or fraud, so the repository will not be a store of all Medicare and Medicaid patient encounters. But, the exchange has to be able to read the data in its provider data source in order for CMS to apply certain conditions against the information it is reading. What happens when the information is incomplete or wrong? The healthcare system is held accountable for the encounters it cannot read. That means automatic and unrecoverable denials of claims PRIOR to an audit, regardless of claim legitimacy.

The Price Fix by Big Box Healthcare Technology Firms

Are the major healthcare software and technology vendors (Big Box) price gouging? Probably not. They are a victim of their own solution strategies. Through acquired and some organic growth (McKesson, Eclipsys, Cerner, etc), they find their EIM solutions lose their agnostic approach. This is bad…very bad for health systems of all sizes. With very few exceptions, the vast majority of healthcare organizations DO NOT BUY all applications and modules from a single stack player. How could they? Healthcare systems grow similarly – some organic, some through acquisition. When a hospital organization finds over the course of time, an application that is reliable, such as a billing system, there is tremendous reluctance to remove a proven solution that everyone knows how to use. Because the major technology providers in the healthcare space act as a “One Stop Shop”, they spend most of their time working on integrating in their own product suite with little to no regard to other applications. Subsequently, they find themselves trapped: they have to position all products/modules to maintain the accessibility and integrity of their data. This is problematic for the hospital that is trying to solve one problem but then must purchase additional solutions to apply to areas that are not broken, just to be able to integrate information. That is like going to the hardware store for a screwdriver and coming back with a 112 piece tool set with a rolling, 4 foot cart built for NASCAR. You will probably never use 90+% of those tools and will no longer be able to park in your own garage because the new tool box takes up too much space!

IT resources – including people – must be utilized. In today’s economy, leveraging internal IT staff to administer a solution post-deployment is a given. If those IT resources do not feel comfortable in supporting the integration plan, then status quo will be justified. This is the “anti” approach to providing solutions in the healthcare industry: the sales leaders from Big Box technology firms want their sales people in front of the business side of the organization and to stop selling to IT. While this is a common sense approach, the economy in 2010 mandates that IT has to at least validate their ability to administer new technology solutions. The prospect of long-term professional consulting engagements to follow post installation has been shrinking at the same rate as healthcare organizations profit margins.

Empowering the healthcare organization to utilize its existing IT staff to administer and develop with the new products is not part of the business plan when Big Box players market to the industry. It is the exact opposite – recurring revenue from lengthy, and sometimes permanent, professional services consulting engagements is part of the overall target. The initial price quote for a Big Box solution is scary enough, but the fact remains that it is still not representative of what the ongoing cost to maintain through consulting arrangements. This is a variable cost, which is difficult to predict, and drives finance managers and executives crazy.

Solving the Dilemma – A Better Solution through a New Approach at a Fraction of the Cost

When Healthcare Business Experts combine talents with Technology Architects, EIM Solutions cost drop dramatically. This is the New Approach to Healthcare EIM, providing the way health organizations will be able to provide successful solutions at significantly reduced costs – opening the door for health systems of all sizes.

The EIM Firm (using the New Approach) versus Big Box Healthcare Technology Providers:

Smaller, more agile firms bring many benefits to Healthcare Organizations of any size. The benefits:

1. They are focused on specific verticals – just like the Big Box Health Technology providers. Subject Matter Experts (SME) in the smaller firms typically are industry veterans with years of experience and success in their approach who see their resume as a service offering better utilized when they are able to apply their methods for successful strategy planning as opposed to learning the methods of a Big Box player. Their income is better since their revenue is applied into a smaller operating cost, extending lower pricing for solutions that are MORE EFFECTIVE and offering stronger client/vendor relationships as the SME limits themselves to a certain number of clients.

2. Solutions built on proven approaches and strategies. Again, the firm’s SMEs are able to define a methodology that can be re-used or re-configured in each client instance. This saves time and money for the client as delivery is accelerated and the cost of architecting is eliminated.

3. The firms themselves develop solutions and methodologies agnostically. Their understanding of the diversity of systems that exist in the technology of a healthcare organization allows them to not only develop adaptable solutions but also add a Business Process Management Plan (BPM). The BPM will define for the organization EXACTLY how information is received, processed, cleansed, stored, shared and accessed. It also will define an action plan for training IT for administration and support as well as end users at all levels on how they will leverage it going forward. BPM planning in a healthcare organization is a low six figure investment with an outside consulting group. The EIM firms will include it in the cost of the solution. Basically, it is the difference in being told what is wrong and here are the recommendations to fix it versus here is what is wrong and this is how it will be fixed with the new solution.

What is a typical EIM Firm solution?

1. Solution Assessment, noting the current systems, data sources and methods of sharing information as well as business processes, key personnel identification that are gate keepers if information, timeliness of providing information and overall effectiveness in leveraging enterprise information for strategic business planning. See figures 1 for an example of the information process flow visual component of an actual assessment.

2. EIM solution that contains an integration engine that accesses all data sources – reading and writing back to the database or application, providing data quality services and maintaining HIPAA as well as HL7 requirements. See Figure 2 for a diagram.

3. EHR Data Warehouse. A repository to build Electronic Health Records through the integrated data flow.

4. EHR Portal for patient entry (when additional information needs to be added) via a browser.

5. Business Intelligence Dashboards for metrics, AD Hoc analysis and Performance Management Scorecards on organizational goals and objectives.

6. Onsite implementation and integration of the EIM solution.

7. Onsite training during installation for IT and end users. Ongoing training provided via webinars, documentation and technical support staff.

8. Relationships maintained by the Subject Matter Experts for the life of the solution.

9. Stimulus “HITECH” Act pays $44,000 per physician for an EHR solution implemented. The SME creates the grant request to be submitted so the healthcare organization receives Stimulus funds to pay for the total EIM solution

Key Element of the Solution

Onsite Delivery and full time support are key. But, the most important element is training. Why? As noted earlier, it is paramount that existing IT investments, namely personnel, be able to not only administer but also conduct development as the need arises. In Healthcare, CMS managed Medicare/Medicaid is already margins that are in the negative. As private payers follow suit, the number of uncollectable encounters will increase, impacting current profitability models and increasing future cost for treatment. By mitigating IT costs, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) qualifier should actually evolve to a Return on Investment (ROI). ROI is immediate for this solution approach, but it is sustained year over year by leveraging internal IT to support and develop. Now, the Healthcare Organization has eliminated costly professional service consulting engagements and re-investments into new feature licensing. This takes a variable cost every year and makes it a fixed, yet smaller amount – a sensible financial approach to accomplish a proven strategy.

Summary –

Why EIM? Whether it is Omnibus, “Obama”-care or an edit (not overhaul) of the Healthcare industry, Healthcare Organizations know these truths:

1. Electronic Health Records are necessary for the Fraud detection unit of CMS. Each organization must comply with accessibility, HIPAA and format. Fraud reduces overall revenues for a hospital by 9% (ACFE)

2. EHR/EHR have proven to be highly effective in eliminating internal waste, patient fraud, practice fraud and paper overhead. Vast amount of space within the facilities that had been used to store patient records in hard copy can now be utilized to provide additional services and open new revenue streams.

3. Bad or “dirty” data in electronic or hard copy format is costly. According to the AHA (September, 2008), the average cost of a patient record with good or accurate information is $343 annually. The annual cost of a patient record with bad information is $2,054 annually. On average, 18% of patient information within a healthcare organization is bad.

4. Strategies developed by healthcare organizations without 100% of the information they own that is also timely and relevant are ineffective. Objectives cannot be defined, successful processes cannot be identified and improvement plans have little to no metrics in which to determine success.

5. Stimulus/HITECH Act pays $44,000 per physician when EHR is part of the EIM solution. With the smaller EIM firms, Stimulus pays for the entire solution.

Why a New Approach EIM Firm?

1. Subject Matter Expertise from consultants that have proven methodologies.

2. Agility to adapt to the client need instead of the Big Box approach of the client adapting to their product limitations.

3. A Better Solution at a Fraction of the Cost. Their solutions are based on needs and not features.

4. Relationships with the vendor, resulting in improved services, maximum values from vendor solutions and a focused approach to the client needs and goals.

5. A Return on Investment as opposed to a Total Cost of Ownership. Clients need to see solutions that immediately pay for itself and then recover lost revenue while offering channels to new profit centers.

California Job Outlook – Healthcare Workers in Huge Demand

Temperature is right for Healthcare Opportunities

A healthcare career might be just the cure for your occupational woes. Whether it’s working with patients, being a key contributor in a medical office team, or opening up your own business, healthcare is a satisfying, challenging and exciting career choice. And there’s never been a better time to train for a healthcare position. With the aging of the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), a shift from inpatient to outpatient care, and the expansion of healthcare centers, the demand for healthcare workers is expected to increase in the years to come, especially in California.

Below are the fastest growing Healthcare Careers in California:

*Dental Assisting*

Average Annual Wage: $31,985

2002-2012 Job Growth: 57%

Future Career Paths: Dental Hygienist, Licensed Vocational Nurse

*Health Claims Examiner/Medical Biller*

Average Annual Wage: $31,772

2002-2012 Job Growth: 41%

Future Career Paths: Medical Coder, Insurance Adjuster

*Massage Therapy*

Average Annual Wage: $36,340

2002-2012 Job Growth: 21%

Future Career Paths: Physical Therapist, Day Spa Manager

*Medical Assistant*

Average Annual Wage: $28,890

2002-2012 Job Growth: 46%

Future Career Paths: Licensed Vocational Nurse, Medical Coder

*Optical Dispensing*

Average Annual Wage: $32,441

2002-2012 Job Growth: 23%

Future Career Paths: Store Owner, Manufacturers Sales Rep

*Pharmacy Technician*

Average Annual Wage: $33,632

2002-2012 Job Growth: 31%

Future Career Paths: Occupational Therapy Assistant, Dietetic Technician

*Surgical Technology*

Average Annual Wage: $40,178

2002-2012 Job Growth: 36%

Future Career Paths: Central Supply Mgr, Asst. Operating Room Admin.

*Diagnostic Medical Sonagraphy*

Average Annual Wage: $60,908

2002-2012 Job Growth: 21%

Future Career Paths: Physician’s Assistant, Medical Technologist

** Salaries listed above are average annual wages reported by the Employment Development Department of the State of California and do not reflect entry level salaries for the healthcare positions listed.

Key Success Factors

Do you have a genuine desire to help people? Then chances are you’ll be successful as a healthcare professional. The four other critical skills you’ll need to succeed in health care are:

o Team player. Healthcare is a group activity, so people skills and teamwork are essential.

o Compassionate and caring. Helping take care of people requires patience and a service-orientated attitude.

o Comfortable in any setting. You might be part of a huge organization or a small staff, working at the local, state, regional or national level. The possibilities are endless.

o Desire for lifelong learning. You’ll need to keep studying and learning throughout your career to keep up with the latest developments in the field.

Healthcare provides a helping hand

Healthcare professionals are essential when it comes to caring for the physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing of individuals. Whether you’re a health information specialist or a dental receptionist, all support staff play a vital role in patient care. As an important contributor to the healthcare system, you’ll need to be able to establish trust and credibility with fellow workers and patients. Good communication skills, ability to follow directions, and strong listening ability are important, especially if you’re working in a clinical environment.

Technical abilities are a must

Technology has altered the practice of healthcare. No matter what the healthcare field, an ability to work with computers and high-tech equipment is a powerful asset. As a medical biller, you will probably be asked to help process some claims electronically. Medical clinical assistants may need to deal with an Electronic Medical Record. Pharmacy technicians often operate automated pill dispensers. But if you’re unfamiliar with such tools, don’t worry–your all-important career college will help introduce you to these concepts.

Exciting environments

Is it any wonder that shows like NBC’s “ER” and “Scrubs,” and CBS’ “Rescue 911,” have been so popular? They show the drama of medicine and the reality of life-and-death situations. Healthcare is filled with stimulating and interesting interactions. Of course, big-city hospitals bustle with activity, but even a quiet suburban assisted living facility, chiropractic office, retail pharmacy, HMO, or medical clinic have everyday drama and fascinating daily interactions. If you like a variety of tasks, work well under stress, and take pride in doing a job well done, then you have what it takes to be a valuable member of the healthcare team.

Lifelong learning

Medical-related workplaces have always been settings that support and encourage professional growth and development. Opportunities for on-the-job training and continuing education abound, and often employers will subsidize your schooling. You’ll also have lots of opportunities for advancement, so your ambition will serve you well in a healthcare profession. If you’re interested in a career like massage therapy, be assured that complementary and alternative medicines are being integrated into conventional healthcare systems, offering you even greater opportunities. No matter what your area of interest, be sure you start out at a school that provides a positive learning environment and is prepared to help you launch your career in this exciting arena.

Reality check

Although not every healthcare professional works with patients, those who do will find that people are sicker, older, and living longer, often with chronic diseases. Keeping a positive attitude is key for maintaining a cheerful office or clinic. Are you up to the challenge? Being a paid caregiver requires confidence, commitment and compassion.
Summary

The clock never stops ticking in the healthcare profession. Perhaps it’s time for you to join this financially rewarding, stable and gratifying occupation. One recent study showed that California led other states in the number of advertised healthcare job vacancies, with other regions also showing a strong demand across the nation.

One healthcare worker said it best: “Touching someone’s life in a positive way is the most rewarding work that there is.”

To request free information about the healthcare career training programs offered in southern California, visit http://www.americancareer.com.

To request free information about the healthcare career training programs offered in northern California’s San Joaquin Valley, visit http://www.acicareercollege.com.

About American Career College

For over 25 years, American Career College (ACC) has been helping thousands of students get their start in the healthcare industry. ACC offers nine healthcare training programs at campuses in Los Angeles, Orange County and Norco, California:

Dental Assisting

Health Claims Examiner/Medical Biller

Massage Therapy

Optical Dispensing

Vocational Nursing

Pharmacy Technician

Surgical Technology

Diagnostic & Medical Sonography (Ultrasound)

Medical Assistant

About A.C.I. Career College

At its McHenry Avenue campus in Modesto, CA, the College offers six accredited healthcare training programs:

Health Information Specialist

Medical Clinical Assistant

Medical-Dental Administrative Assistant

Pharmacy Technician

Massage Therapist

Medical Dental Receptionist