No your calendar isn't off: Epic UGM 18 kicks off about a month earlier this year than previous years. The conference begins on August 27, 2018 and ends on August 30, 2018. Executives, directors, clinical staff, and others with a strategic focus in Epic are invited to attend this event in Verona, Wisconsin that attracts close to 20,000 people.
The theme of Epic UGM 2018 is “The Great Outdoors”, a tribute to the opportunity for attendees to survey the ever-changing landscape in healthcare.
With thousands of people expected to attend Epic UGM 2018, it’s time to start planning before summer kicks into high gear. Last year was a blast and we know this year will be even better. Below is a list of key dates for the conference and tips from Vicki Davis, our Vice President of Epic Training and Optimization.
July 26 Hotel reservation cancellation deadline for Madison Area Hotels
July 2 Hotel reservation cancellation for Wisconsin Dells Hotels
Aug 26 First-Time UGM Orientation
Aug 28 UGM Day Two: General Session, CEO Council, Executive Breakouts, Sessions
Aug 29 UGM Day Three: CEO Council, Executive Cybersecurity Forum, Sessions
Aug 30 UGM Day Four: Cybersecurity, Managed Care, and Pop Health Forums
Tips from an Expert Epic UGM Attendee
Our Vice President of Epic Training and Optimization, Vicki Davis, has attended several Epic UGMs. Here is her advice for first-time and returning attendees:
Review all of the lectures and plan your agenda beforehand. If you have packed your schedule with lots of back-to-back sessions, do some pruning. Leave yourself time to absorb the content, network with others, and see the amazing Epic campus.
Download the mobile app (Apple | Android) for a quick pocket guide to events and a helpful tool for finding your peers onsite.
Stay behind to speak to the participants and presenters of lectures. These will be some of your most valuable conversations!
Hydrate and pace yourself! It's summer, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking and talking so bring a reusable water bottle and wear comfortable shoes.
If it’s your first time, attend the Sunday orientation session. You’ll receive a ton of valuable information and tips from the Epic UGM staff.
If you're a physician, nurse or pharmacist, plan to log some valuable continuing education credits. More than 100 Epic UGM 18 sessions qualify for CME, CNE or CPE credits.
Do you have a helpful tip for getting the most out of Epic UGM 2018? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at HITLeaders.
The word “interoperability” means different things to different people. By definition in the IT world it is the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information.
While most healthcare providers want and understand the importance of EHR interoperability, most also say (according to this 2017 survey) that current interoperability solutions fall short of meeting patient needs.
I must admit, as an implementation consultant, my primary focus is usually on how an EHR functions within the four walls of the client hospital. But I recently had a very personal experience that reminded me that EHR data must be accessible and shareable to truly benefit patients and improve care.
My daughter, who lives in Louisiana, has battled addiction for over 15 years. While visiting us in Alabama, she relapsed with severe complications. She went to the ER in our town several times and had multiple tests and blood work conducted.
Unfortunately, her insurance would not cover care in Alabama, so we rushed her back to Louisiana with a promise from our local doctors that they would transfer all of her test and lab results to her physician in her home state. They did not—and they could not.
Because there was no way for the two hospitals to electronically exchange her information, and because of the urgency of her complications, the doctor in Louisiana was forced to repeat all of the tests previously done in Alabama. This, of course, cost both time and money, both of which were very important in this situation.
Granted there are significant hurdles to overcome if we are to achieve true interoperability. But I’m encouraged that vendors, providers and lawmakers are working together to try and remove those hurdles. Collaborative, vendor-driven efforts, like the Opioid Safety Alliance, are critical to ensure that lifesaving healthcare data can be shared in a timely manner.
As a father and healthcare IT consultant, I know interoperability is more important today than ever. As an industry, I hope we act with greater urgency to make it happen.
Jeff Mason is Director, EHR Solutions for Healthcare IT Leaders
ServiceNow, a fast-growing leader in IT Service Management (ITSM), is rapidly expanding its footprint in health care. Many hospitals use the company’s cloud-based IT service and operations platform to automate management of EHR applications and other clinical software assets. ServiceNow’s HR Delivery product is also widely used by hospital Human Resources departments.
ServiceNow was founded in 2004 and became a publicly-traded company in 2012 with a $210M IPO. Today, more than 4,400 enterprise customers worldwide use ServiceNow to drive their digital transformation. With the growth of the company and platform, demand for ServiceNow administrators, developers, and implementers has also grown exponentially over the years.
Are you interested in becoming ServiceNow certified? Use this guide to navigate the ServiceNow certification process. This blog post also includes tips and advice from our in-house ServiceNow expert, Ernest Lessenger.
ServiceNow Certification Paths You Can Take
Just this year, ServiceNow changed their certification process and requirements. Originally the certifications were divided by role: ServiceNow System Administrator, Implementation Specialist, and Application Developer. There weren’t any requirements on the type or number of products an administrator, implementer, or developer needed to know in order to work on a project. For example, a developer could receive their administration and development certifications and would be allowed to work on any product line, even if they didn’t have training or experience working with that product. But with the new rules, that has changed.
To improve processes and services, ServiceNow decided to parse the certifications by role and by products. Now, ServiceNow administrators and implementers are required to receive necessary certifications by product line. So if you are a developer and interested in Human Resources, you will need to take the HR Developer certification exam. And if you also want to work on a CSM project, you will need to take the CSM Developer certification exam.
So now, administrators, implementers, and developers will need to receive separate certifications for the various ServiceNow products: ITSM, ITOM, ITBM, CSM, HR, Security, and Platform. Click here to access the full Certification Guide.
Preparing For Your Certification Exams
Before you jump into taking the product and role-specific certifications, you’ll need to take it back to the basics. ServiceNow recommends that everyone takes the ServiceNow Fundamentals Class in order to learn how to configure and manage a ServiceNow instance. “I found it to be a well-designed class,” said Ernest Lessenger, Chief Platform Architect of Healthcare IT Leaders. “Understanding the platform and taking the class is a very good first step for anyone getting into the ecosystem even if you’ve used ServiceNow in your job or have developed on the platform informally.”
Lessenger has received a few ServiceNow certifications and is continuing to take classes. He actually comes from the Salesforce industry and found it useful to become cross-certified with Salesforce and ServiceNow since most organizations he works with use both systems. “I want to be able to work efficiently and to give good advice to my clients who use both products.”
For both systems, Lessenger explained that it’s good to understand the development, change management, and release management philosophies of the cloud platform providers, whether that’s Salesforce or ServiceNow. By knowing the basics, Lessenger said: “An expert knows what use cases and solution are likely to work well on either platform.”
“The ServiceNow Wiki and documentation are also great resources to learn the best practices of the system and products,” said Lessenger. “Simply read the documentation and you will learn a lot. This is often where you will find the answers to your questions so it pays to understand the layout and documentation style.”
To ensure these new rules are followed, ServiceNow requires that any administrator, implementer, and developer on a project have all of the certifications required for that specific project. For example, if your team is implementing Security on your client’s ServiceNow instance, then all implementers on the team will need the Security Implementer certification.
What To Expect During The Exam
ServiceNow makes exam blueprints available online for each certification exam so you can download and review them before the test. The blueprint gives general information about the exam as well as information on the exam structure and question formats. Here are the Certified System Administrator Exam specifications.
While taking the exam, you will need a quiet room with a strong internet connection since it is online. It is also mandatory that you use a standalone webcam (one that is not integrated to a computer or laptop). The webcam has to be set up so the proctors are able to watch you during the exam.
Keeping Your Skills Fresh and Relevant
“It’s critical that you stay on top of ServiceNow’s releases and understand the differences between releases,” said Lessenger. ServiceNow makes significant changes each year to the cloud-based platform so it’s crucial for administrators, developers, and implementers to constantly learn and educate themselves on these changes.
Lessenger also recommends taking the Fulfiller Training, especially if you are a developer or architect. “It’s important to learn how the end-users use the system so you can create processes and workflows that work for them,” said Lessenger. You can take end-user training with your company or with ServiceNow.
Healthcare IT Leaders today announced the hire of three Cerner-experienced consulting executives to further enhance the firm’s fast-growing Cerner consulting practice:
Ken Boyett, General Manager, Cerner Practice Ken offers our clients unmatched perspective and experience gained from a 26-year career at Cerner Corporation, where he worked directly with founder Neil Patterson and other long-tenured executives in the company. Ken joined Cerner Corp. in 1990 as a project accountant, and then transitioned into sales and project management roles of increasing scope and responsibility. In 2007, he was elevated to the role of Cerner General Manager, leading strategy, sales and project management across a 7-state region. As GM of the Cerner practice at Healthcare IT Leaders, Ken is responsible for client delivery and satisfaction.
Larry Todd, CPA, Cerner Revenue Cycle Practice Lead Larry brings an in-depth understanding of Cerner Revenue Cycle requirements to client engagements. He is a former healthcare CFO with 30+ years of Revenue Cycle experience, including 6 years as a Revenue Cycle Consultant for Cerner Corporation. Most recently, Larry held the title of Managing Director-Cerner Practice at Leidos. At Healthcare IT Leaders, he will advise Cerner clients on Revenue Cycle implementation, upgrade and optimization projects, ensuring that key financial metrics are observed and met.
Jim Beezley, Associate Director, Cerner Practice Jim offers our Cerner clients deep experience in project management, EHR implementations, and senior-level engagement services. He is an expert in supporting health system leaders with strategic goal setting and road-mapping, migration from legacy systems, implementations and optimizations, and user adoption. Jim worked for 18 years at Cerner Corporation in a variety of client-facing leadership roles. As a senior engagement lead and consultant, his responsibilities included oversight of multiple clinical and revenue cycle projects, client satisfaction and delivery.
“These individuals offer invaluable, first-hand experience managing the complexity of large-scale Cerner engagements. They also bring added insights gleaned from their direct experience working at Cerner Corporation. They are already making an impact for our Cerner customers, and adding velocity to our fast-growing Cerner business,” said Bob Bailey, Managing Principal, Healthcare IT Leaders.
About Healthcare IT Leaders
Healthcare IT Leaders is a KLAS-rated, national leader in IT consulting and workforce solutions, connecting healthcare organizations with experienced technology talent for implementation services, consulting and full-time hiring. Areas of focus include EMR, ERP, HCM, CRM, and BI. Based in Greater Atlanta, our company is ranked on the Inc. 5000 (2017, 2016, 2015), and has been named a Best Place to Work by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of America's Best Professional Recruiting Firms by Forbes.
"We love building relationships with the candidates we work with," says Justin Couch, Recruiting Manager at Healthcare IT Leaders. He leads a team of Consultant Advisors who recruit and match our expert consultants to client projects.
When he's not reeling in the perfect candidate, he's casting a line in a different way. Justin is an avid fly fisher and weekends often find him in Georgia rivers catching rainbows and brown trout.
Learn more about Justin in our latest Consultant Advisor Spotlight video.
Keeping up with the changes in the tech industry, especially in the healthcare IT realm, is a never-ending battle. There’s always a new trend, tool, or system to learn about and when you only have a couple of hours of free time during the day, it’s hard to dedicate that time to education.
That’s where podcasts come in handy. For aural learning while you’re engaged in other tasks, just pop in your earbuds and check out one of the programs below.
If you’re new to the podcast phenomenon, WIRED has an excellent guide for beginners. Beyond the educational benefits, there are plenty of reasons to start listening to podcasts while you’re on a treadmill or flying to a client site. Check out this list.
Digital Health Today Podcast
This podcast is perfect for you if you’re looking to learn more about the innovations and technologies that are changing the healthcare industry. The podcast is hosted by Dan Kendall who interviews and chats with HIT leaders in each episode. The podcast covers a broad range of topics, including digital health, artificial intelligence, personalized care, telehealth and telemedicine, and wearable technology.
The Cerner Podcast
Cerner, to its credit, seems to be all-in on podcasting as a tool for information sharing. While many HIT vendors produce audio content sporadically, the Cerner podcast is regularly updated (71 episodes and counting), and features insights from some of the leading voices in health IT, drawn primarily from the Cerner client base.
Healthcare Info Security Podcast
A must listen for Cyber Security executives, this podcast from the Information Security Media Group posts regular interviews with healthcare CISOs. Experts also provide valuable analysis and ‘lessons learned’ from well-known security breaches and hacks, like the recent ransomware attacks that shut down major hospital EMRs.
Geekwire Health Tech Podcast Focused on health tech innovators, this regular podcast is sponsored by Providence St Joseph’s Digital Innovation Group and skews toward guests and topics from the Pacific Northwest. The region is home to Amazon and a variety of movers and shakers in digital health, so there is plenty to talk about each month.
Medtech Talk Podcast Healthcare startups and their venture capital partners are showcased here. Guests offer valuable insights for entrepreneurs interested in the ins and outs of financing a new health IT venture.
Accidental Tech Podcast
While not a health IT podcast, per se, this long-running program is enormously popular with developers for its offbeat takes on coding and tech life. The podcast (known as ATP) is hosted by three developers. They have in-depth conversations on each episode about a specific topic related to technology. ATP is the right one for you if you enjoy product reviews, the latest industry news, and granular discussions about programming languages.
Healthcare IT Leaders is a leading healthcare IT staffing and consulting services company. This is the second year in a row that the company has qualified as one of the best professional recruiting firms in the country.
To create this list, Forbes worked with analytics firm, Statista, to conduct two surveys. Statista surveyed 30,000 recruiters and 4,500 job candidates and human resources managers who had worked with recruitment agencies over the last three years. Respondents were asked to nominate up to 10 recruiting firms in the executive and professional search categories.
Firms could not nominate themselves; last year’s findings were considered. More than 14,500 nominations were collected, and firms with the most recommendations ranked highest. Healthcare IT Leaders ranks #86 on the Forbes list in 2018 and is the highest-ranked firm devoted exclusively to health IT consulting and staffing.
“We’re honored that Forbes has ranked our firm again as one of the best,” said Bob Bailey, managing principal of Healthcare IT Leaders. “Our entire team is devoted to providing exceptional services to our consultants and clients. This ranking is a testament to their hard work and dedication.”
About Healthcare IT Leaders
Healthcare IT Leaders is a KLAS-rated, national leader in IT workforce solutions, connecting healthcare provider and payer organizations with experienced technology talent for implementation services, consulting and full-time hiring. Areas of focus include EMR, ERP, HCM, CRM, and BI. Based in Greater Atlanta, our company is ranked on the Inc. 5000 (2017, 2016, 2015), and has been named a Best Place to Work by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of America's Best Professional Recruiting Firms by Forbes.
Interviewing can be nerve-wracking, especially when it’s over the phone and you don’t have the benefit of sitting across from the interviewer to pick up on subtle cues or body language. However, there are plenty of ways you can win your next phone interview. We asked our consultant advisors their top tips and advice. Here’s what they had to say:
“As far as to ace an interview, I would go with two things — make a great start and a great end.”
— Dimple Kochikar
“One of the top things you need to do is smile. You can hear someone smile through the phone and they know that you are enthusiastic about the job and that you want the job.” — Christine Woods
“Have your resume on hand with the ability to take notes. Conduct a practice interview with a co-worker or a friend.” — Andy Bryant
Every year, HIMSS and Dice release surveys on compensation and salaries for professionals in the technology and healthcare IT industries. We’ve pulled the most interesting information from these surveys to understand the state of tech salaries in 2018. Find out who is making the most money in the industry and the skills they have.
885 U.S. health IT professionals participated in this year’s survey. The average salary for digital health professionals is $109,610. Per HIMSS, this is a modest increase over 2017 and generally consistent with former years and survey findings.
The most interesting aspects of the survey are the salary disparities that exist based on gender and race. The pay disparity is persistent especially for females and non-white professionals.
These are the key findings related to gender from the survey:
Females make an average 18% less than their male peers.
It can be said from this survey that females are paid $0.82 for every $1.00 a male is paid since the average salary for females is $100,447 and the average salary for males is $123,244.
Older females experience greater pay disparities than their younger coworkers.
Female health IT professionals working in the South and West tend to experience greater pay disparities than females working in other areas of the country.
Source: 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey
These are the key findings related to race from the survey:
For the purpose of the survey results, race was grouped into two categories—”white” and “non-white”.
Non-white health IT professionals make on average 12% less than their white counterparts. The average salary for white respondents was $112,926 and the average salary of non-white respondents was $99,069.
Older, non-white information and technology professionals experience greater pay disparities.
The pay gap for non-white digital health professionals was the least in hospital settings (8%), especially in for-profit hospitals.
2018 Dice Tech Salary Report
The Dice Tech Salary Report is one of the most popular sources for year-over-year salary data trends. It breaks out salaries by technical skills, industry, and cities in the United States and show which technology skills are in the highest demand. Let’s dive into this year’s findings.
10,725 employed technology professionals participated in this online survey. The annual salary for all of these technology professionals in the United States in 2017 was $92,712, only a 0.7% increase from 2016. Overall, average salaries remained flat, but the survey showed that employers are using other tactics, such as incentives and benefits, to compensate employees and attract top talent.
Source: 2018 Dice Tech Salary Report
Here are some of the key findings from the 2018 Dice Tech Salary Report report:
The average contract rates rose five percent from 2016 to $72.32 per hour.
42% of tech pros anticipate changing employers in 2018 for higher compensation, better working conditions, or more responsibility.
The top metro cities for salary were Silicon Valley ($114,654/year), Boston ($105,329/year), New York ($103,941/year), San Diego ($101,025/year), and Washington D.C./Baltimore ($99,937/year).
These were the top salaries by job title:
Tech Management (CEO, CIO, CTO, VP, Director) – $136,786 per year
Systems Architect — $135,082 per year
Product Manager — $119,141 per year
Tech Management (Strategist, Architect) — $117,748 per year
Project Manager – $114,136 per year
Dice said the top paying skills included big data, cloud technology, automation, process and project management, storage, databases, and programming languages.
Compensating Employees with Bonuses & Benefits
Even though tech salaries have remained steady with minimal increases year-over-year, companies are using incentives like bonuses and benefits to compensate employees and attract top talent. Both surveys found an increase in these strategies and respondents reported receiving more perks and benefits.
According to the Dice Tech Salary Survey, 71% of respondents received one of the following perks:
Flexible work location/telecommunication
Flexible work hours
More interesting or challenging work
Training and certification courses
Promotion of new titles
The Dice survey also found that in 2017, a third of tech professionals received a bonus, earning on average $10,254. In the healthcare IT space, the 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey found that employers appeared to favor bonuses as a compensation incentive for those with managerial responsibilities.
One of the most interesting findings in Dice’s salary survey was that 60% of tech professionals said they would like to work remotely half of the time or more, but only 22% currently do. They value this perk so much that that 63% of respondents said they would take a pay cut to telecommute at least half of the time!
As salaries continue to stay at a steady pace in the IT industry, perks and benefits are becoming a popular trend and valued by employees. Organizations looking to differentiate themselves to attract top talent can take these strategies into consideration in order to build a professional and competitive workforce.
"The role changes every day," says Consultant Advisor Neika Powell of her recruiting responsibilities at Healthcare IT Leaders. And while the varied tasks and rapid pace of the job might seem overwhelming to some, Neika thrives in a fast-moving environment. Her need for speed is evident outside of the office as well. She rides motorcycles and professes a love "for anything that goes fast."
Neika is a favorite of consultants and clients alike for her thoroughness and professionalism. Her 'get it done' attitude makes her one of our favorites as well.
Learn more about Neika in our latest Consultant Advisor Spotlight video.
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