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Health IT Professionals Need “Soft Skills” as Well as Technical Skills

As technology revolutionizes the healthcare industry, the need for qualified health IT professionals continues to grow.

Industry-specific technical skills are hot commodities, but clients and employers also are looking for professionals with “soft skills” that allow them to effectively interact with and influence others.

Because implementing electronic health records (EHR) can present a challenge beyond the technical, it is important to have – or develop – a well-rounded skill set that includes functional and soft skills.

Sought-After Soft Skills

Soft skills are particularly in demand in the healthcare IT industry because implementing electronic health records systems requires substantial change for organizations and the individuals involved.  Putting new systems in place that affect the day-to-day work of healthcare professionals with diverse personalities and varying degrees of tech savvy requires good people skills.

Healthcare IT workers with strong soft skills and the capacity to handle the people side of system conversions are “worth their weight in gold,” according to recruiting website ERE.net.

Valuable soft skills include:

  • Communication skills:  It can require substantial explanation, clarification and coaching to implement and/or update an EHR system, whether it’s in a large hospital or a small practice.  IT professionals with effective written and verbal communication skills are sought after to execute the technical transition as seamlessly as possible.
  • Negotiation skills: The ability to understand resistance to change and find satisfactory solutions that allow for progress is critical to success in the healthcare IT field.
  • Strategic thinking: Strategic thinkers question their own views, listen to multiple viewpoints and surround themselves with people whose areas of expertise vary from their own. Healthcare IT professionals who can uncover the root causes of problems, while remaining forward-thinking and open-minded, bring tremendous value to organizations and their clients.
  • Team-building skills: Knowing how to motivate people to work together is vital to EHR implementation, whether it’s putting together an implementation team or helping healthcare facility employees acclimate to a new system.

Effective people and leadership skills are a solid foundation for success in the healthcare informatics field. To help individuals looking to build the in-demand technical skills needed to pursue a career in this growing industry, The University of South Florida offers a Master of Science in Health Informatics, as well as a graduate level certificate, both available 100% online.

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