With 12 years of experience in system architecture and design, engineering and management, Eric Rice has worn many hats in the health IT industry. He’s spent the last seven years working specifically with medical imaging Information Technology practices.
Rice, chief technology officer of healthcare imaging technology company Mach7 Technologies, believes health IT is always growing and adapting to the times.
“The general population, yourself and myself included, will forever be driven to live longer and healthier lives,” Rice said. “With that, health IT is always on the move and growing to improve patient care.”
As Mach7’s chief technology officer, Rice is responsible for overseeing current technology to create policies applicable to hardware and software utilized by the company. Rice supervises an engineering team at Mach7 and also spearheads design solutions for several prominent radiology and cardiology products.
Education Is Key for a Health IT Career
Rice points to education as a core necessity for his career path. “Higher education provided me with the foundation to grow in my career,” said Rice, who holds a degree in Management Science and Information Technology, specializing in Decision Support Systems, from Virginia Tech University.
His education at VTI “provided the technical skills to deliver solutions, initially through software engineering and the soft skills to listen, ask questions and understand the users of our IT solutions,” Rice said.
But, Rice stresses, education must continue long after the diploma is earned.
“Following graduation, my education was not complete. Even today it is not complete,” Rice said.
Education Doesn’t Stop After College
“Your career may begin with the technical skills you learned through higher education, but don’t leave behind your method for continued learning,” Rice said.
“This method of learning may be the most valued component you walk away with following graduation,” Rice said. “Technologies will change, customer environments will change, but if you walk away with a method and desire for continued learning, you will have a prosperous career.
“Your education has just begun,” Rice said.
It’s a way of thinking Rice strives to pass along to everyone at Mach7.
“I encourage all of our employees to be good students of our customers,” Rice said. “Our customers know their businesses best. If we can learn from our customers and understand their pain points, those pain points can deliver the roadmap to delivering IT solutions and innovations that were not possible yesterday. In return, patient care is improved and our business value grows.
Rice Sees Health IT as ‘Inspirational’
Rice was drawn to health IT as a career choice because, he said, it’s “a field of constant innovation that truly effects our everyday lives.”
Rice knows Health IT services are critical to industry success. “Want to understand the value of healthcare IT? Ask a healthcare organization about the impact of an IT system being down/offline,” Rice said.”
“Industries around the world leverage IT to operate their businesses every day,” he said. He points out that IT services cover everything “from word processing and presentations to billing and customer care solutions.”
For professionals or college students considering a job in the healthcare industry, Eric advises them to keep their perspective and never forget what motivates you.
“Healthcare has likely touched us all, our family, and close friends,” Rice said.
“When looking for a role in healthcare, look for your passion to give back and drive innovation,” Rice said. “When delivering solutions, don’t forget your family and your friends as patients.
“In healthcare, IT delivers the solutions to doctors, nurses, and clinical staff to diagnose and treat patients,” Rice said. “Healthcare IT touches patients and delivers new lives and treatments every day. In IT, what else could be more inspirational?”