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5 Essential Aspects Of Healthcare PR

Healthcare public relations is a growing field for those who do not mind the challenge of dealing with various individuals, and issues that can become crises.

Like other marketing jobs, healthcare PR requires good oral communication skills, good written communication skills, ability to meet deadlines, crisis communication skills, and knowledge of current issues in health care issues and policies. These are 5 essential aspects that should be sought in healthcare healthcare agencies and professionals. Additionally, most agencies or organizations that hire this type of specialists desire professionals who have 5-7 years in the field.

Healthcare PR firms specialize in public relations for hospitals and similar health care organizations. In addition, this type of marketing practice specializes in promoting goodwill or good relationships between the public and businesses, or other organizations. Like other organizations, some hospitals hire their own public relations staff, while others contract with outside PR agencies to handle agency duties. Good and valuable efforts can save money and keep consumers content, especially when a serious issue or crisis arises. Healthcare professionals in this sector deal with internal and external concerns.

In the health care field, PR experts should be good oral communicators because they are generally the spokespeople for a specific healthcare organization in times of crisis. They need to be able to speak and write carefully and respectfully. Being media savvy is a must for anyone handling public this type of situation.

This individual or business must be able to think on their feet, as well as communicate clear, concise messages to the public through the media. Along with media savvy, another essential aspect in public healthcare advertising is good written communication skills. Professionals in this field generate internal and external documents, including memos, letters, newsletters and updates. In some cases, the officer will maintain the public information page on the healthcare organization’s website.

The professionals who work in healthcare PR should be able to meet deadlines, and also be good at crisis communication. For example, if a patient receives surgery on the wrong part of the body, the situation could be a marketing nightmare for a hospital. An experienced professional is able to develop a targeted message, under tight deadlines to make sure that the public receives an explanation for why the incident occurred.

Finally, those people who do happen to work in healthcare PR agencies or departments must be knowledgeable of current issues in healthcare. This includes being up-to-date on healthcare reform issues, medications of popular interest and the healthcare organization’s policies and procedures.


In Healthcare Marketing, the Healthcare White Paper Is Invaluable

Should healthcare white papers be part of your healthcare marketing efforts? If you’re serious about being an industry leader — absolutely.

Healthcare white papers are one of the most important tools for successful business-to-business (b2b) marketing in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. They don’t just advertise your products or services. Healthcare white papers showcase your expertise, and establish your company as the knowledge leader in your industry-highlighting your value, creating trust, and cementing your marketplace authority.

What is a white paper?

A white paper is a marketing communications tool used to educate and inform the reader, rather than just make a sales pitch. They may be used by companies to introduce new products or services, or to offer novel solutions to industry problems.

Use them in healthcare marketing to:

  • Introduce innovations and products
  • Expound upon the benefits, features and implications of a product or service
  • Tell a captivating story and spur the reader to act
  • Address the needs of your readers-and offer your unique industry solutions
  • Establish your company as a knowledge leader in your industry
  • Help key executives make informed decisions about which vendors to work with
  • Help buyers decide which products and services best meet their needs
  • Convey meaningful, objective data to educate your audience
  • Detail specific examples of how your solution is effective

Getting a better return on marketing efforts

Using white papers in b2b marketing can bring a substantial return on investment for companies. These materials make incredibly versatile b2b marketing tools. In addition to showcasing the benefits of your company’s products and services, when done effectively they highlight your industry expertise and make a strong statement that you’re not focused on sales for sales’ sake. Whitepapers establish your company as a knowledge leader in your industry. And they position you on the cutting edge of industry research, clearly showing that you’re confident and generous enough to share your expertise.

In the healthcare, pharma and biotech industries, b2b marketing often requires a soft sell, using a data-driven, results-oriented approach. Whitepapers are perfect for this – whether you’re a healthcare provider, or a company that markets its products and/or services to the healthcare industry. Your readers want to know that you’re not focused on sales for sales’ sake. They want to know you stand behind your products and services for the right reasons: Because you’ve tested them, and they work. Indeed, throughout the healthcare industry, the stakes are extremely high if products or services fail, and expertise and credibility heavily influence buyer decisions.

Therefore, these marketing tools are a great way to establish your credibility among others in the healthcare industry. In this highly-competitive, rapidly evolving field, white papers help position you as a knowledge leader and solidify your place on the cutting edge of industry advancement.

Because these materials must strike the right tone and clearly convey information, healthcare white paper writing experience is a must for the internal staff or outsourcing agency hired to prepare the paper.

Whitepapers can be used in a variety of marketing and sales force materials, published on a company website, distributed at conferences and meetings, or sent to prospects in response to inquiries. Several online sources also publish white papers from pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, and others in the healthcare industry.

If your company needs to gain a competitive edge, while establishing credibility and creating customer trust, these versatile marketing materials are a “must-have.”


Marketing Strategies for Healthcare

Healthcare and life, in general, are the same if you “plan nothing then you will achieve nothing.” In order to implement a healthcare program, a person will need to have a clear vision of what they wish to accomplish coupled with a strategy and enough resources to reach his or her goal. In the video, “Why Healthcare Practice needs a Marketing Plan?” it outlined the core reason why a healthcare plan is needed, three necessary considerations, and three distinguished strategies needed to executed a healthcare plan properly and efficiently.

When it comes to healthcare marketing, it is vitally important to have the required financial investment to complete such an undertaking. However, if you are a healthcare manager with the responsibility to develop and maintain a particular goal of an established healthcare organization, then you will have a budget that you will have to follow. It is important that goal with clearly defined steps in order to reach that goal in order to avoid wasting precious money and time.

There are also other risks that are involved when it comes to healthcare marketing. One obvious risk related to financial costs and obligations. It is common knowledge that many unknowns exist within healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations are constantly adapting and changing with unforeseen storms ever present on the horizon. Having enough financial monies on hand to weather an potential storms could prove beneficial. There is also the risk of the endeavor not working at all hence, healthcare is a very competitive field. Another important risk of high value, is your reputation. No one wants to be noted in the community as not being able to start what he or she has finished. Doing so may classify yourself as foolish in the eyes of others. And if you are working for another company, you risk not only your reputation but your career may also be compromised.

There are three distinct marketing strategies also referred to as “marketing layers.” The first marketing strategy or layer is known as internal marketing. Internal marketing involves marketing to patients are existing clientele. For example, I work for a long term care facility owned by Signature Healthcare. The corporate executives want to utilize space in one of their large facilities for an adult day care center. The nursing home is located in a rural community with a limited population. Signature Healthcare already serves 150 patients and families in the area not including the 120+ employees working at the center. The first layer of marketing would include the resident’s families and fellow stakeholders. An information session would be held at the nursing home providing information and generating excitement for this wonderful community resource.

The next marketing strategy involves external marketing. External marketing involves consumer directed marketing. A market analysis of the community would include taking a close look at the number of elderly, handicapped, and those with special needs that are being cared for by family members that work outside the home. Marketing directed at that particular population would be the second marketing strategy.

The third and final marketing strategy involves professional referral marketing which includes physicians, nurse practitioners, and other peers. The long term care facility that is seeking to expand into the adult daycare arena already has a medical director who is a physician. There are also a significant number of other medical doctors that treat patients who reside at the long term care facility. Those physicians are currently treating many elderly people within the community that live at home and could benefit from use of an adult day program. This third marketing strategy could also be expanded to include the local hospital and other healthcare professionals in the area that treat not only local elderly, handicapped or special needs population but those who practice in nearby communities. The use of social media would also fit into this aspect of marketing. The use of Facebook has exploded in recent years and is a very useful resource in business marketing.

In conclusion, it is important to have carefully constructed business plan utilizing these three aspects of marketing. Healthcare is a business and it is required that a goal and strategies are carefully constructed with clearly defined steps outlined to achieve the desired results. Marketing is not a onetime endeavor and then you are done. It is ongoing with constant planning and adjustments required along the way. A healthcare entrepreneur must stay abreast of all technological advancements needed for his business and ongoing educational programs for the fellow stakeholders. One must always stay on top of the competition and aware of all changes in Medicaid, Medicare, and other insurance programs. It also beneficial to utilize proven business methods such as Lean Six Sigma and how it applies to healthcare, and teaching such methods to those you lead will prove invaluable.


The Norwegian Versus the American Healthcare System

America’s history is rooted so deeply in freedom of choice to either win or lose in one’s economic decisions. This can be epitomized by so many early Europeans coming to the New World in search of a new life, many of which had very little wealth in terms of personal property or education, but eventually pioneered much of the American wilderness creating farms, small communities, and big cities. From the earliest Americans that came to Jamestown Virginia to the more recent immigrants coming through Ellis Island, many of these Americans have argued for less government intervention in their lives and created a culture that keeps the government from controlling everyday choices like gun control to even universal healthcare. Even today, America does not even have a universal healthcare system, even though many other industrial nations do.

Many Americans argue that a universal healthcare system will not work in America because a large portion of Americans will simply take advantage of the system, in terms of not altering their unhealthy behavior, thus, running up the costs for everyone. Moreover, many feel that healthcare is simply not a privilege to be handed to everyone, and should be employer based to ensure everyone pays for their own healthcare, as much as possible. This seems to be a cultural issue rooted deeply in the American value of individuals being independent as much as possible from government influences. On the other hand, a country like Norway has some pure socialist practices, especially in the area of healthcare. In fact, everyone in Norway has healthcare. It is the law of the land.

Norwegians are more practical than Americans in how they spend their money, they enjoy saving money for quality health care. According to Bruce Bartlett, a Forbes Magazine columnist, on a per capita basis, Norwegians spend $4,763 per year, and covers everyone, while Americans spend $7,290. By various standards of health quality, like life expectancy or rate of preventable deaths, Norway does better than the U.S. One key measure is physicians per capita: America has 2.43 physicians compared with Norway’s 4 doctors per every 1,000 people, even though Norway spends a third less of its Gross Domestic Product on health care than the U.S. does.

Why is the cost of healthcare in Norway less than that in America? The eye catching statistic that reveals Norwegian superiority in providing lower cost healthcare is that the number of doctors in America, per capita, is actually less than in Norway. Perhaps increasing the supply of healthcare providers in America could lower overall healthcare expenditures for healthcare. Perhaps there is a deep rooted cultural reason in Norway that is helping to keep healthcare costs down. Maybe their society has a healthier population than countries like America.

Finally, it appears capitalistic and socialistic policies both can benefit a nation like America. America has the greatest GDP of any nation, but yet, does not provide a universal healthcare system for its citizens. One would think that through sheer size and because of its economic output, America could keep its healthcare costs lower for its citizens than a country like Norway. Perhaps the free market system in America will one day solve all of the demands that its citizens want, like universal healthcare. If not, perhaps a more controlled socialistic policy will be created providing universal healthcare that is similar to the one implemented in Norway. There is a school of thought for each economic approach, but the bottom line is, there is a cost to be paid, and ultimately the consumer/taxpayer will bear that cost.


Healthcare Background Checks: 5 Services To Include

Since every patient’s wellbeing depends on the professionalism of each health care professional, background checks are crucial for healthcare outcomes. Healthcare background checks help make certain that dishonest, disqualified people are not employed by healthcare facilities. In this way, healthcare background checks can prevent tragedies, such as the case of Charles Cullen, a nurse who murdered forty patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Furthermore, failing to run healthcare background screenings puts hospitals and other healthcare facilities at risk of being sued for negligent hiring.

Following, you’ll find a list of investigations that ought to be incorporated in healthcare background checks. Even though the prospect of running health care professional background checks in-house is possible, most hospitals and other facilities choose to contract with third party background screening firms instead. Typically, outsourcing healthcare background checks is the more cost-effective approach.

1. OIG-GSA Examination

Both the OIG and the GSA are offices in the federal government. The OIG exclusion list quantifies those who have been banned from working in Medicare, while the GSA list shows those who are barred from winning government contracts. Patient abuse, fraud, unsavory licensing board actions and default on student loans can land a healthcare professional on these lists. The Excluded Parties List System lists GSA and OIG exclusions, as well as those of the DEA and the FDA, so it is an excellent tool for those running health care professional background screenings.

2. Criminal Background History

Court history should be established as part of a healthcare background check. Those with significant criminal history are not safe hires. Thoroughly checking a person’s criminal history is more time consuming that you might imagine, as complete healthcare background screenings should include:

a. DHA and SSA I-9 information, to verify work eligibility,

b. An investigation of financial judgments such as liens, to establish personal character,

c. A review of sexual offender databases, as created under Megan’s Law,

d. A record of driving history, particularly if the employee will be driving as part of his or her regular duties,

e. Criminal and civil court history on federal, state, and county levels, according to the applicants’ residential history,

f. Verification of the potential hire’s social security number, to ensure that the applicant is using his or her own identity,

g. Credit history, as another method of sketching personal character.

3. NPDB Check

The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) can provide invaluable information on the on-the-job history of a health care professional. Background checks should include a NBDB check for malpractice suits, restricted clinical privileges, and any licensure limitations.

4. FACIS Review

FACIS, or the Fraud and Abuse Control Information System, catalogues healthcare workers who have seen disciplinary action from federal agencies. FACIS also includes licensing and certification data from every state in the union.

5. HIPDB Analysis

If your potential hire has been mixed up in healthcare fraud, you’ll find out in the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB). All thorough healthcare background checks should include a search of the HIPDB.

Clearly, running thorough healthcare background screenings requires a good deal of specialized knowledge. Considering that the average employee would spend dozens of hours researching the requirements of health care professional background checks, and figuring out how to access relevant background information, it’s no wonder that most healthcare facilities choose to outsource this important aspect of healthcare hiring.


Howard Dean’s Prescription For Real Healthcare Reform

Healthcare reform plays a major role in discussions and the media today, but it is confusing, overwhelming, boring and seemingly unsolvable to most people. Howard Dean presents the problems and solutions in plain language in his new book, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.  

Hear someone utter the word Healthcare and the emotion that rises up and continues to spiral nearly out of control is anger. Dean writes, “according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress, in March 2009 alone almost 11,000 workers a day lost their health insurance.” Do the math and the anger turns to outrage – 341,000 people lost their health insurance in a 31-day period.

There are “47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance. But the healthcare debate should also focus on the fact that 25 million working-aged Americans have health insurance but still cannot’ afford to see a doctor,” states Dean in his introduction. Terrifying statistics compounded by information from the Commonwealth Fund, “many go without needed care, not filling prescriptions, and not following up on recommended treatment.”

Howard Dean is eminently qualified to write about healthcare reform for several reasons. He is graduated from Yale in 1971 with a BA in Political Science. He received his medical degree from Columbia University during which he spent one month at the American Medical Association following Senators Jacob Javits and Ted Kennedy as they attempted to create a healthcare bill during President Carter’s first term. His was elected the first Democratic Governor of Vermont since 1853. His efforts during his Governorship insured that 99% of Vermont citizens under the age of 18 had access to healthcare coverage, expanded prenatal care, community health centers and dental clinics in schools serving low-income children. 

But it is his one simple statement at the end of the preface that says it all. “All change grows from the grass roots. Real healthcare reform won’t happen without you.” He is clearly directing his thoughts at the everyman/woman – he is writing for the people who need healthcare insurance or worry that their insurance will come to an end due to loss of job or steep rate increases.

Dean clarifies, finally a politician that realizes what the people want to hear and how they want to hear it, the difference between healthcare reform and health insurance reform. “So, the real debate about healthcare reform is not a debate about how large a role government should play. The real issue is: Should we give Americans under the age of sixty-five the same choice we give Americans over sixty-five? Should we give all Americans a choice of opting out of the private health insurance system and benefitting from a public health insurance plan?”

He further states, brilliantly making his point absolutely current, “Americans ought to be able to decide for themselves: Is private health insurance really health insurance? Or is it simply an extension of thing that have been happening on Wall Street over the past five to ten years, in which private corporations find yet new and ingenious ways of taking money from ordinary citizens without giving them the services they’ve paid for?” Does the Madoff ponzi scheme ring a bell here? Money invested with absolutely no return on investment not to mention complete loss of all funds. Who hasn’t paid for insurance month after month and not received coverage when they needed it the most?

Dean details the profit vs. care issue and succinctly discusses the problems with private, for-profit insurances companies that “must meet two obligations that are often mutually exclusive.” These private behemoths are responsible for maximizing profits for their shareholders while shouldering the responsibility for good service to their customers. Is this even possible given the way private health insurance companies are structured coupled with the lobbyists who ensure that they have more or less free-reign with blatant disregard for the welfare of their enrollees.

Chapters cover the trials of small business owners and individuals and uses real-life examples to drive home the point. He strongly states that “America most shift from an illness-based healthcare system to a wellness-based model.” He writes of the necessity to change the national lifestyle toward one of prevention and healthier living. A goal that neither political party nor business or individuals could argue with – who wouldn’t want to be healthy?

Dean covers the challenges briefly but completely and spends a good portion of the book providing solutions. “Americans need real healthcare reform, not just insurance reform, and nobody should mistake the two,” he states. “Real healthcare reform should offer coverage to the employed, the unemployed, the sick, the healthy, the young, the old. Everyone.”

He puts forth five sound and achievable principles that “real healthcare reform must include.” Everybody In, Nobody Out; No more Healthcare Bankruptcies: Take it to Go; Choose or Lose and Improved Care, Quality and Efficiency. He reviews President Obama’s healthcare initiative; how to control costs; developing a revenue stream to pay for the initiative; and “who’s been standing in the way.”

Dean avows that change is possible through the citizens, calling for change and action. He writes of how this affects people in different walks of life and details, “What you deserve, and should fight for.” He staunchly recommends how citizens can and should take action; educate themselves; contact their local and national officials; contact corporations and organizations and keep the conversation going until change happens.

The last sentence makes Dean’s position clear, “Fights like this are won by ordinary people who decide that they care enough about something to fight for it.” Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform should be required reading for every American over the age of 18. This is the most comprehensive and accessible presentation of a situation that deeply affects each one of us.


Prevalence and Prosecution of Healthcare Fraud

In August 2009, the American Medical Association reported that a study conducted at the George Washington University Medical Center reveals that nearly 10 percent of all healthcare costs estimated to be $2.3 trillion in 2007 — are fraudulent. The problem was called systemic and found to affect both private and public insurers who service individuals, employers group policies and public aid programs.

The most common fraud practices that drive up healthcare costs are false billing, referral kickbacks, wrongfully coded services, and bundling of services not delivered. The report attributes 80 percent of the healthcare billing fraud to health care entities, 10 percent to consumers, and the remainder to a mix of insurers and their employees.

The incidence of healthcare fraud in the private sector is less widely known and recognized by the public than that which occurs in the Medicare and Medicaid programs because the government is obligated to publish this information.

One flagrant example of healthcare fraud detailed in the report were allegations that one large insurance company manipulated its billing practices for out-of-network physician reimbursement to drive up healthcare costs by up to 28 percent. The report also uncovered large financial settlements made by several pharmaceutical companies and hospital systems for fraudulent billing of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The federal government is taking steps to stem systemic fraud in healthcare. The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services have formed a joint fraud prevention and enforcement committee to pursue and root out healthcare fraud.

President Obama also recently signed new law amendments that broaden the government’s ability to leverage the False Claims Act to prosecute healthcare fraud. In addition, the Obama administration’s proposed budget for 2010 includes the allocation of $311 million — a 50 percent increase over the previous year to beef up Medicare and Medicaid healthcare fraud prevention efforts. It is estimated that reducing healthcare fraud in these public programs will save the government $2.7 billion in healthcare spending over five years.

Obama’s proposed fiscal 2010 budget also calls for infusing an additional $311 million — a 50% increase over 2009 funding — to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid fraud-fighting programs. The government reports that working with law enforcement officials to prosecute healthcare fraud recovered $1.1 billion in 2008.

Some of the initiatives the Justice Department is taking to reduce healthcare fraud include:

Specialized training in technology for investigators.

Careful data analysis of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Delivery of training and resources to health care entities to enable better detection and prevention of fraud and billing errors.

Stronger supervision of Medicare Advantage and prescription medication plans.


Healthcare Information Technology Can Save YOUR Life and YOUR Money

Healthcare Information Technology (IT) has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last decade and today, it can easily save your life or the life of your loved one if you or your family member has to be hospitalized for any reason. Not only can healthcare IT save your life but your money, too.

The wrong medication can easily kill you. You might know you are allergic to a medication and have input that on your patient information forms. There might be a known medication interaction between two medications provided. Unless these facts are compared and taken into account, it is very easy for the wrong medication to be provided in a healthcare setting.

Doctors and nurses are only human. They work long hours; often working double shifts during crises. They get tired; their eyes become weary and they are frequently rushing from patient to patient. Even when well-rested and refreshed, mistakes can be made because these professionals are simply human and no human is perfect. Even with the best training, it is possible to misread a doctor’s instructions, medication allergy information, or the name or dosage of a drug on the often small-print labels. The potential for error is enormous, at best, when human eyes and hands are the only method for dispensing medication to patients in hospitals or other healthcare settings.

One well-known example which received a lot of press was the incident with Dennis and Kimberly Quaid’s twin babies. These tiny infants were given a dosage of Heparin which was 1,000 times the dosage ordered, and while they recovered, death was a clear possibility. There were not the only patients overdosed with this medication. They were just the famous ones that received press.

The solution to this life-threatening problem is added safety measures but no patient wants to pay the added cost of having multiple sets of human eyes check every single instruction and medication. Plus, even with two or three sets of eyes, the possibility of error remains.

So, how are you, as a patient, to be assured you are getting the correct medications while paying the least amount of money? The answer will sound simple but the actual implementation is quite complex. For this reason, let’s look at the simple, easy-to-understand reason why healthcare IT helps assure your health and save pocketbook, too.

Computers do not get tired; they do not become distracted by the phone call from the children’s school or other personal problems. They are, today, perfectly capable of reading medication labels accurately every single time by use of barcodes. Once told of an allergy or possible medication contraindication, the computer never, ever forgets or fails to compare the medication about to be provided to you, the patient, with these facts. And, this process is accomplished within nanoseconds rather than valuable minutes of a human’s time.

Once medication is dispensed by the healthcare IT medication control solution, the computer bills your insurance carrier or adds the medication to your self-pay account. Instead of having many pieces of paper and many hands processing this information, it is handled efficiently and instantly. The right patient is billed for the right medication in the correct amount. The errors historically made of healthcare bills are reduced to virtually zero.

At the same time, the inventory of the medication is reduced by the amount which has been dispensed and, when the inventory becomes sufficiently reduced, a flag is raised and an order generated so that an order is generated for the supplier to deliver more. This way, human error does not result in shortages of critical medications.

The many legally required reports regarding dispensing of medications — especially controlled substances which help you deal with post-surgical or post-injury pain and suffering — are generated. These reports once required hours or days to produce.

It remains true that your healthcare professionals must input your patient information into the healthcare IT system correctly in order for these safeguard to work properly, but the time consumed by this process is only minutes compared to the hours eaten away in past decades by paper-trails and hand-dispensing of medication.

Healthcare IT systems are now being deployed into physicians’ and other healthcare professionals’ offices because they work just as well when prescribing medication to be dispensed at your local pharmacy as when dispensing medication in a hospital.

While these healthcare IT solutions require a substantial initial investment to put into place, the long-term savings to patients is enormous. More importantly, the peace of mind you gain when hospitalized or being treated by a healthcare professional is vast. Just consider what is your life worth when a single medication error could kill you!

Muhammad Siddiqui is a focused Healthcare IT Architect and Project Manager with over 12 years experience in healthcare interface solutions and clinical applications. With a proven track record delivering HL7, X12, HIS, LIS, PIS client/service and distributed system architectures, as well as cross-vendor systems utilizing Cerner, Mediware WoRx, Eclipsys, GE Centricity, Epic, Allscript, Meditech, CPSI and SunQuest in some of the top U.S. hospitals, he continually stays on the cutting edge of healthcare IT developments. He also holds an MBA in Business as well as many computer hardware and software certifications.


How to Choose a Healthcare Career That Perfectly Fits You

1. ASK YOURSELF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

What do you really want to do? Where do you want to work? What skills do you have? Do you want to be hands-on, dealing directly with the patients? Or do you want to be in the support staff that helps doctors and nurses deal with them? How much would you like to earn as a starting salary? How much will you need to earn five years from now to accomplish your financial objectives? What kind of task will interest you to do it long enough for eight hours or more a day for the next 10 years of your life? Asking these questions will give you an idea of what type of job will best fit your skills, goals and interests.

Every duty and specialization in the healthcare industry demands a different set of skills and personality traits. Your goal is to find the right position that’s consistent with your interests, goals and personal preferences. Some healthcare jobs may seem more interesting for you but could be totally far off from your current training or even target income. As soon as you’re able to have a more detailed introspective look on yourself, it’s time for you to match your profile to the jobs available. Learning about the industry as a whole will show you what jobs are present and in demand these days.

2. GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

Having an overview of the industry will give you the big picture of what health careers are available and in-demand. Begin your research by getting to know the trends, events and key players in the industry. Your local newspaper’s business section and specialized publications like BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal will give you valuable information on the general situation of the companies and facilities in the sector. Industry websites such as FierceHealthcare.com, AdvanceWeb.com and the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN.com) provides up-to-date news and developments on specific healthcare industry segments and careers, as well as outlook and analysis on related matters. Some of this news and information updates involve specific healthcare careers and forecasts on their demand.

There are also content available online that’s solely focused on healthcare career development. Websites like MedHunter.com and About.com’s Health Career Site provides a suite of information, tools and even free electronic publications for job seekers.

These websites and resources should give you an idea of the current and future state of the industry. If, along the way, you want to narrow down your search to a specific company, location or issue related to the health career path you plan to take, company and government websites will be of great use for further research.

3.SEEK ADVICE FROM PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS AND INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
After you have asked yourself the right questions to know what job will fit you and have gained a general understanding of the healthcare sector, it’s time to seek qualified advice from experts and industry insiders. If you’re a student, inquire at your Career Services Office or any department that deals with student affairs. They would be the best source to help you with your search as they have in-depth profiles of jobs available and even connections with companies that have them. Giving you the information and assistance you need to find the best job based on your profile and education is the reason why they’re there.

If you have your own contacts, reach out to them, particularly those who hold jobs that you aspire to have someday.Ask them questions about their day-to-day duties, satisfaction level at work, challenges in their workplace and skill sets that they have used or acquired to be effective in what they do. Get information on growth opportunities in their field and specific advice on how to get and keep a job like theirs. If possible and when appropriate, politely ask if they have any failures or regrets and how you can avoid them as well as their current income and how they’re able to sustain themselves with their salary. This is all priceless information that no book, course or school can give you.Seize them!

4.DIVE INTO OPPORTUNITIES WITH A GAME PLAN

Now that you know what’s out there and have done your research as well as sought out first- hand advice on prospective jobs you want to have, it’s time to take action on the opportunities available. Making sure that you have your resume, license(s) and other preliminary requirements that a healthcare facility or company requires from applicants is your first priority before you start applying.

Take note of the tactics you will use, whether it’s phone, fax, email or the web.Most careers in the industry have healthcare staffing firms that help applicants get jobs. Apply to them as they have a vested interest in your success and will assist you professionally until you get to the facility or company that you want to work for. These firms have established relationships with facilities and healthcare companies and usually receive vacancy announcements from them earlier than everybody else. This would also be the time to once again get in touch with the professionals you’ve sought advice from about the job you want. Ask about any openings or at least request for their critique of any resume or material you may be using when applying.

Part of your strategy should be to utilize all channels possible to get your resume and name out there. Online tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and healthcare career-focused social networks like Medical Mingle can open doors for you. Have your letters ready and practice mock interviews with a friend or family. When you start reaching out to companies, take note of those you’ve applied to and follow-up if necessary. Exhaust all options that you have to get the job that you’ve worked so hard to be able to get.

When you find the right career path, you discover an important part of your life. Your search for a career will result to some long-term benefits when you do it diligently. Your job directly impacts your life since it’s what you will do for most of your waking hours. By putting the effort and time needed in preparing and executing a well-planned job search, you increase the possibility of finding that healthcare career that will perfectly fit you. Good luck!


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