Finding Jobs for ONC Workforce Program Participants

Posted on August 25, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In response to my post about the ONC Workforce program, I got sent the following message:

I have also completed the ONC Workforce Program. Ms. Feldman is not exaggerating about its difficulty, though my program did not have assignment deadlines. Her comments prove to be another verification that the programs present the standard materials differently. We were told that the course work would take 15-20 hrs/wk, but found we had to double that to complete within 6 months (and work around the high attrition from instructors). When she mentions spelling errors, and missing or duplicated material, it may sound trivial until one sees the extent of the errors. In May, a “corrected” version of the material was released, however. I don’t know the extent of improvement because I completed the program with the beta version.

Perhaps worth discussion is the fact that there are few internships and NO positions that want HITECH graduates without Epic, NextGen, Allscripts, or GE Centricity experience. These vendors do not have classes/seminars on their software, except for facilities who have purchased their product.

When added together, I believe the Workforce Development Program has put people through an enormous amount of pressure, lost many capable people along the way (7000 entered, 2280 completed, according to ONC) and, because back-end gaps for transitioning into entry-level HIT positions exist, we are unable to gain entry to the fastest growing segment for the labor force. That helps nobody.

My heart definitely goes out to these people who’ve gone through the courses and can’t find the jobs. I was particularly taken back by the comment in the middle about there being no positions that want HITECH graduates without the specific EHR experience. Although, I think that might be location specific. Or maybe I just got lucky getting my first job in the EMR world without any EMR experience. I still remember when they asked me to tell them about my experience in healthcare and I responded, “I’ve been to a doctor.” So, there are exceptions, but you have to find them.

I took a few looks at the jobs listed on my EMR and EHR jobs board. Based on past postings, I can definitely say that it’s competitive to apply for an EMR job. Even if there’s a real need for a well trained healthcare IT workforce. I’m not sure if that’s a function of a down economy shifting many workers into healthcare or what.

I welcome other ONC Workforce Program participants to share their experiences in the comments. What have you found that works? Where can other graduates look for EMR and healthcare IT related jobs? I’ll be interested to hear your stories and suggestions.