The Top Four Soft Skills You Need to Succeed in Healthcare IT
If you’re applying for healthcare IT positions, showing the employer that you’re a valuable hire should be at the top of your mind throughout the hiring process.
While you may be a pro with Epic Prelude, just having knowledge of a specific system may not be enough to push your application to the top of the list. What will set you apart when you’re searching for a healthcare job is not just the ability to handle the software side of an EMR conversion, but also the soft skills you bring to the table.
Why soft skills are important
Soft skills are sometimes called personality-driven skills, and are abilities related to emotional intelligence that can’t be easily quantified. Examples of soft skills include the ability to recognize social cues, the ability to communicate well, and the ability to empathize with others. According to a recent study, 79% of the employers surveyed indicated that soft skills were very important to an employee’s success. Despite their somewhat elusive nature, soft skills are in high demand in both IT in general, and healthcare IT specifically.
The importance of soft skills isn’t just limited to non-tech fields. In fact, Google recently discovered that STEM skills were ranked dead last as a measure of success. Instead, the abilities that allowed employees to succeed were all soft skills: being a good coach, communicating and listening well, having empathy, etc. Despite their somewhat elusive nature, soft skills are in high demand in both IT in general, and healthcare IT specifically.
In healthcare IT, there are a few soft skills that are particularly desirable, particularly when you’re a contract worker who specializes in EMR conversions and implementations. We’ve summarized them below.
The number one soft skill for healthcare IT professionals as cited by employers is the ability communicate clearly and articulately. Often, developers will need to be able to communicate changes with non-IT professionals, so being able to translate HCIT-speak effectively can be a huge plus for anyone looking to land a contract job.
This is especially important when you work with data or in business development, since you’ll often be asked to share insights or to explain a particular trend. Having excellent verbal and written communication skills can can make you not only stand out when interviewing, it will also make you more successful when you’re actually working.
Be a team player
EMR conversions and other healthcare IT jobs require multiple skills and personalities working in tandem to accomplish a task. The ability to work well in a team environment is essential for these kinds of contract positions; however, there are often invisible barriers between various teams. That means that being able to collaborate with different IT teams to accomplish your projects is incredibly important to employers.
The ability to work with and within other teams shows an employer that you’re cooperative, open to new ideas, and that you have the relationship building skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.
Ask the right questions
The best IT professionals aren’t the ones who bulldoze in and assume they have all the answers. Instead, the developers who get hired again and again are those who actively consider the people who will be using the system, and who are willing to ask questions to understand exactly what will be best for the people who will be working with the EMR every day. In the world of EMR conversions, no two projects are going to be exactly the same, so even if you’ve done dozens of implementations, it helps to start with questions.
The ability to know when to ask open-ended or specific questions will also help you as you move into leadership or management roles as well, since at that point you’ll be working even more frequently with people instead of systems.
Know how to listen
The ability to consider multiple viewpoints is invaluable when working in healthcare IT. The best professionals are those who surround themselves with people who have differing skills and viewpoints, and whose areas of expertise are different than yours. This will allow you not only to be more forward thinking, but also to be more open minded about solutions, which will add even more value to you as an IT professional and to the organization as a whole.
While having the right hard skills can help you succeed technically in a healthcare IT position, having the right soft skills helps just as much. It will not only help you get along with your future coworkers and managers, it will also propel your career forward as those you work with will seek out your expertise more often.