EMR Job Seekers Get Their Big Break

I’m not a big fan of reality shows, especially those that involve contestants singing, telling jokes, dancing, or anything else that could potentially result in public humiliation. I’m in the minority, of course, as this style of television programming shows no sign of abating anytime soon. It’s a worldwide epidemic, in my opinion.

I am a fan of creative marketing – applying concepts traditionally associated with one particular medium (like television) to something entirely different (like healthcare). Needless to say, the Big Break job recruitment program – you could also call them auditions – intrigued me.

In a nutshell, pre-screened candidates take part in a one-day audition process put on by recruitment firm Intellect Resources and participating hospitals. Candidates then compete to become trainers and instruct staff on the use of the sponsoring hospital’s electronic medical record system or related healthcare IT system.

Seems like a slam-dunk concept, in my opinion. Those who are unemployed get a job within their community, and also get a taste of what that popular 15 minutes of fame is like. Did I mention that candidates go through video interviews and public presentations during the daylong process?

I recently chatted with Tiffany Crenshaw, President and CEO of sponsoring organization Intellect Resources, about how the program came about and the impact it has had on its participants’ lives (and go-lives).

How did the Big Break come about?
Tiffany Crenshaw: The Big Break spawned out of a project we were working on at Mt. Sinai Hospital last year. Last fall, they were getting ready for their Epic training and called me in a panic. They were expecting to get 90 to 100 trainers, and were going to use nurses, but realized at the last minute that wasn’t a viable idea. So they called us and said, “We have to do something now – we have no budget and we have no time. And we want to do some sort of done-in-a-day type audition. What can you do?”

So we said this is right up our alley. We created a really cool event – it was at the big Marriott Marquis in Times Square. We had around 500 contestants, and they all went through a timed audition process – stressful for them, but it was still fun.

They had to go through seed interviews and get in front of cameras. They had to get in front of a boardroom of judges and do presentations. At the end of the day, we ended up with 100 trainers that worked at Mt. Sinai to help roll out the hospital’s Epic training and go-live.

So that’s really the model of Big Break. We created it as a solution for Mt. Sinai, and now other folks are getting the word about it. Ochsner Health System is our next one. We’ve got the Big Break event for them in just a couple of weeks (January 21).

Did they reach out to you?
A consultant and dear friend of mine that was actually helping them with their system selection and project planning for their Epic implementation recommended this business model, and brought us in as the vendor to run this product for them. So yes, they did reach out to us, but it was really a consultant that made it happen.

Are you an all-Epic recruiting firm?
At the moment, that’s just about all we’re doing. Through the years, we’ve worked with many other products – with McKesson, Cerner, Siemens. The demand right now is Epic, so by default we’re doing all Epic. That’s just where the demand is, and so that’s where we’re spending our time.

How have you seen this type of program impact sponsoring hospitals and surrounding communities?
We think it’s a business model that works very well for hospitals. It’s a very low-cost way to get good resources. It’s also a good marketing opportunity for them to promote the fact they’re installing an electronic health record to the benefit of their patients, and it’s a great way for them to reinvest in their own community.

At Ochsner, the idea is that this is really for the New Orleans community. They don’t like to hire outside consultants. They really want to empower and revitalize their own community.

Many of the folks that we worked with at Mt. Sinai have gone on to work at other places. Big Break was really their footprint in the door. The end result is that the consultants that come through with really good experiences.  Over 50 percent of them are now working in the industry. Mt. Sinai actually hired four full-time employees. There was a big project up in Rochester, N.Y., that a lot of the people went to after that first project. We redeployed probably 20 of them on several go-lives.

Is there an opportunity for this to work in other cities?
At our very first meeting with Ochsner’s project executive, we talked about the fact that there are several area hospitals in and around New Orleans gearing up for Epic implementations. Our original thought was, let’s do this together, but the go-live timeframes didn’t work.

It would make perfect sense if there were multiple hospitals that could do the event together, do the credentialing together, and then take people from a generic credentialing and deploy them to the individual hospitals to learn the individual builds. I think it’s a model that could be a really good collaboration.

I think one of the neatest things about Big Break is that this industry is so thin on the amount of really good resources that are out there. It’s a great way to breed new talent