Healthcare consultants can work in a variety of areas. They may advise businesses on ways to improve operations, meet regulatory requirements or implement new technologies. Employment for healthcare consultants is growing twice as fast as the population as a whole, so this is a good career choice. Here are a few tips on how to become a healthcare consultant.
Earn the Right Certifications
One of the growing niches for Six Sigma and Lean experts is in healthcare. In medical procedures and delivery of care, every mistake is potentially life-altering; this has resulted in many healthcare facilities and healthcare networks hiring Six Sigma experts to find ways to eliminate mistakes. The bloated bureaucracy in healthcare is one hurdle to lean operations, while the shift to relying on a whole team of experts to provide specialized services in the facility is another. Facilities are hiring Lean experts to streamline facilities and procedures to save time and money while delivering care to more people in a given day.
Those with expertise in medical regulations and government programs can find work helping various healthcare providers update policies, procedures, and forms to keep up with changing federal, state and industry standards. Earning credentials that demonstrate this expertise is critical to gaining the trust of your clients.
Just realize that you need to choose a niche in order to succeed and have the certifications to demonstrate your expertise in this area. You’re either a process improvement expert or EHR implementation specialist, a quality expert or regulatory expert. You could specialize further by implementing new and improved IT systems in pharmacies or offering technical upgrades for infection control.
A nurse or doctor who earns these process improvement or regulatory compliance certifications will be attractive to clients since their medical career is seen as experience in the industry. If you’re a business analyst, working in the medical industry, whether processing claims or managing a billing department, will improve your standing with clients. You may need to work with an existing healthcare consultant as an assistant or analyst, to gain the experience clients want before they’ll take your advice and revamp their operations.
Keep Up with Technology
The consultant needs to know much more than the client about any technologies they may need to implement. For example, in a discussion on electronic healthcare records, you need to know the major software vendors and pros and cons of each EHR system, as well as be able to describe the steps required to transition from paper records to electronic systems or a legacy digital database to a modern EHR. When discussing modernizing a facility or implementing better infection control, you have to know the latest news on everything related to the subject to be taken seriously by clients. Be informed about latest medical developments by reading medical journals or even sites like Todays Global News among others.
The growing complexity of rules and regulations pertaining to healthcare, the technology itself and the shifting business structures have left many healthcare providers struggling to remain compliant while delivering the necessary quality of care. Healthcare experts step into the divide to provide advice, but they need to have the right credentials and experience to be able to find clients.