re: 50,000 Health IT Jobs: HIMSS, HR Gurus Want You
I'm one of the "lucky" ones that successfully transitioned from general IT to clinical IT. I made a conscious decision about three years ago to move that direction when I saw the Meaningful Use program begin to gel.
There are a number of reasons that Health Care is looking for IT specialists who, first and foremost, have medical background. It's not like Health Care has existed without technology and all of a sudden needs a boost of outside IT help. Health Care is full of very hitech systems that have largely existed as technology "islands" and now they need to be more integrated with each other. The integration part is key in solving the core issues with information flow... brought to light by the advent of EHR.
Solving the IT modernization of Health Care is not as easy as populating a facility with a few Servers and PC's with some EHR software sprinkled on top. IT has to understand the clinical workflow and the diagnostic devices that will interface into the network/software architecture (EKG, Lab, CT, Xray, PACS, etc.). IT has to take into account all of these various systems in order to knit them together with EHR.
Then, there is the EHR component itself. That one is huge. Another poster mentioned that Epic is one of many (with many being in the neigborhood of about 90 vendors... each with different products). No one can learn all of those systems but they do need to have or acquire as much experience with at least one of those products as possible to understand how they work. The EHR is the linchpin of the organization. It integrates so many of the aforementioned clinical devices and workflows that one therefore needs to understand the clinical process well enough to be effective at their job.
You will likely succeed more quickly if you already have clinical training, are a smooth talker, learn extremely fast, and grab the right opportunities when they present themselves.