“Old Boys Club” of Healthcare IT

Posted on June 13, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve been giving some thought recently to what I call the “Old Boys Club” of health IT and the damaging impact to healthcare. I’m not really talking about an old boys club like most people think about. I’m sure there’s that in healthcare too, but this is referencing a mentality that I think exists in healthcare that should be recognized and addressed.

The basic concept is that healthcare IT rarely looks outside of healthcare IT for people with related expertise. This approach creates an insular environment where everyone is inside the healthcare IT bubble and start to exhibit the same thinking.

I realize I’m painting some rather broad generalizations, but I think a lot can be learned from looking at generalizations because they are generally true.

I think this idea really hits home to me as I think back on the massive number of EMR and healthcare IT job listings I’ve seen (Check out my EMR and EHR job board if you didn’t know it existed). It is so rare to find a healthcare IT job that doesn’t ask for healthcare experience. I’ve heard many complaints from people coming from other sectors of the economy who have IT experience, but no healthcare experience. In many cases, those people are having a really hard job cracking the “no healthcare experience” barrier. My biggest suggestion to these people is to beg, borrow and steal so they can get healthcare experience.

Certainly, I’m quite familiar with the unique attributes of healthcare IT. So, I can understand why someone hiring a healthcare IT job can benefit having someone who has some healthcare background. However, I can’t help but wonder if healthcare wouldn’t benefit from a few more healthcare IT outsiders joining our ranks. They could provide a fresh perspective and ask fresh questions that could really move us forward. My fear is that many hospital IT people are afraid of the fresh perspective.

I’m glad that my first healthcare employer took a chance on me. I’m a little bias, but I believe it worked out really well for them. I think breaking up the “Old Boys Club” a little bit with some fresh outside perspectives could be really beneficial.