January can be a great time to think deeper about your professional development priorities for the year ahead. Are you interested in pursuing a new opportunity this year? Are you looking to grow your health IT knowledge-base and skill set? Or are you curious about what it would take to start a career in health IT?
No matter your career goals for 2019, you may want to begin by exploring the opportunities available on our Managed Services team. Whether you’re a seasoned health IT vet or a newbie to the world of EHRs and Epic applications, we have a variety of open positions – from experienced analysts to entry-level associate analysts. We’ll ensure you get the training and certifications you need to grow and advance your career.
In fact, our Managed Services team thrives on knowledge-sharing, so if you’re motivated by the opportunity to grow and advance your skill set, this is the team for you. To get a better idea of the growth opportunities available on this team, we recently sat down with Kevin Bricker, Managed Services team lead, and Brit Dennis, Managed Services analyst. Both Kevin and Brit joined Nordic in January 2017.
Prior to joining Nordic, Kevin had about eight years of Epic experience and Brit came to Nordic without any direct experience with Epic. Brit and Kevin provide some great insight into the professional development opportunities afforded to them on the Managed Services team, and how they’ve been able to grow their health IT careers since joining the team.
What’s your background? What was your journey to Nordic’s Managed Services team?
Brit: Prior to joining Nordic, I worked at a small clinic as a substance abuse therapist. During my time at the clinic, I assisted with the clinic’s transition from paper to electronic health records. Following our implementation, I witnessed a noticeable, positive impact on client care and was able to see firsthand how using the EHR improved my daily workflows.
After that, I knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field, but at a more holistic level. I started on the Managed Services team with zero experience or knowledge of Epic. I started as an entry-level associate analyst on the Orders team in January 2017 and am still part of the Orders team today.
Kevin: I started at Epic right out of college. During my eight years there, I was on the Health Information Management (HIM) and Identity Quality Assurance (QA) teams. I helped ensure that patient chart information was accurate and complete. After Epic, I worked at a small software company in Middleton doing QA work. After that, I came directly onto Nordic’s Managed Services HIM and Identity team, helping on the Loma Linda University Health engagement, which kicked off in January 2017. I’ve been on the HIM and Identity team ever since.
From your experience, what is different/unique about being part of the Managed Services team? What do you enjoy most?
Brit: My favorite part of my job is being able to work and learn from so many supportive, creative, and smart people. I also love our clients. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to assist them and work alongside their IT teams to take challenging tasks off their plates. I also enjoy helping implement changes to improve end-user workflows that directly impact patient care.
Kevin: I enjoy the problem-solving and relationship-building aspects of my role. That, combined with helping providers and clinicians provide better care by improving their user experience. I like helping them uncover strange or unusual problems and solving for these issues.
Specific to the Managed Services team, though, I’ve enjoyed having a chance to grow and develop in my role here. I like that we're growing and that we are flexible in the ways that we apply our people. In some ways, it kind of feels like being a part of a small startup. You get that excitement of being able to pursue the opportunities that you, yourself, can see. You don't have to wait for them to come. If you want to grow your knowledge base or skill set, you can go ahead and do so.
On that note, when it comes to professional development opportunities, how have you grown your knowledge-base while you’ve been part of the Managed Services team?
Brit: In the past few years, I have learned and grown professionally in ways I never could’ve imagined. I am someone who gets bored easily with mundane tasks, but in my current role, I find myself being challenged daily, and I love it! I came to Managed Services with zero Epic experience and have been able to grow immensely over the last couple years. When I started out, I didn’t have any certifications. Now I’ve earned two and am in the process of working toward my third certification.
Kevin: In Managed Services, we have knowledge-sharing sessions where team members who specialize in certain applications sit down and give quick, 20-minute tutorials. These sessions can range in topics – anything from high-level information about professional billing or claims to in-depth overviews of ways that nurses use the In Basket feature. From these knowledge-sharing sessions, I picked up a lot of information on other application areas – areas I didn’t necessarily have the bandwidth to learn through an official certification.
However, I’ve also been able to grow my skillset by earning certifications. For example, for the work I was doing with Loma Linda, I determined that it would be beneficial to receive my Epic Bridges Interfaces certification. I was able to earn this certification to help expand my skill set and meet the client’s specific support needs.
What certifications have you received and why? Was there a client need to fill? Or another reason for getting these specific certifications?
Brit: I’ve received my Orders certification, Order Transmittal certification, and I will be going for my ASAP certification in March. I’m constantly striving to increase my knowledge, and I have a genuine interest in both Order Transmittal and ASAP.
I sought out receiving these additional certifications because they would benefit my ability to support clients, giving me a more well-rounded understanding of Epic applications to help resolve clients’ support issues. In turn, certifications have helped me meet my professional development goals. I love working for a company that is willing to foster my desire to obtain more knowledge and continue my education.
Kevin: I have four separate certifications for HIM and Identity, as well as certifications for Clarity Data Model Reporting, Bridges Interfaces, and the Chronicles Database. Most of my certifications have been spurred by client needs. The more I would notice ticket requests coming in around these specific issues, I wanted to be able to understand what was going on to help the client resolve the problem – rather than punting the issue to another member of my team.
For example, prior to receiving my Bridges Interfaces certification, I had noticed we were receiving a lot of tickets and requests that were referencing the scanning or transcription interfaces. When I mentioned to the client and my Managed Services team lead that I was interested in receiving an Interface certification to better understand what was going on, they both agreed. From there, I took the necessary steps to receive my certification.
Tell us a little about the team you work with on a daily basis. Are you cross-certified to span the variety of client needs?
Brit: Currently, I support Loma Linda and Temple Health along with my Orders team members. Earning my Order Transmittal certification has increased my ability to assist Temple. When I started working with Temple, they had a high number of transmittal errors generated each month. Over time, our team has been able to greatly minimize the errors generated per month. Following my ASAP certification, I will be cross-certified, which I believe will increase my skill set for current and future clients.
Kevin: Along with my Nordic teammates, I work directly with FTEs at the client organizations I assist. Together we have daily interactions with our end users. This is something I really enjoy about my work – the variety of people I get to interact with.
Since I serve on the HIM team, I think it's handy to have a mix of certifications. One of my Nordic HIM teammates has his inpatient Orders certifications, and having him know the clinical side well has been really valuable for us.
After Bridges, the next certification that I would like to pursue is a Hospital Billing certification. I want to expand my existing knowledge of what happens after our HIM coders are done with the accounts. I like that at Nordic our teams are cross-certified. We round out our teams with people who are experts on areas that may intersect with our own individual application expertise. It helps us build our skill sets while effectively supporting the client.
How have your knowledge base, certifications, and other professional development opportunities helped you grow in your career?
Brit: Since Epic is so integrated, I believe that additional certifications are always beneficial to help clients and to help me grow my unique skill sets. By getting additional certifications, I’ve noticed I’ve begun to think about Epic issues differently. I’m able to be more effective and efficient at my job.
Kevin: I was recently promoted to a Team Lead for the HIM team, which was one of my career goals. Since getting promoted, I've been really impressed with the amount of leadership tools and resources that our management team and other team leaders have shared with me. They’ve sent me Harvard Business Review blog posts on management styles, given me recommendations on leadership books to read, and shared other resources that will help me as I take on this new role.
How have your certifications and team knowledge-sharing helped benefit the client(s) you work with?
Brit: Being able to think about Epic issues in a different way allows me to be a better analyst. This directly impacts my ability to determine the root cause of issues that clients may be experiencing. Additionally, receiving certifications has made me more inquisitive. I am always trying to determine why something happened and not just looking for a band-aid solution. I’m always looking to get to the root of the issue to be more preventative and prescriptive.
Kevin: I’ve found that having an expanded knowledge base is a huge time saver for clients. If I’m on the phone with my IT counterpart at a client organization and I can help resolve their issue instead of having to bring in another member of our Managed Services team, it’s extremely helpful for clients. Also, when other application teams understand how, for example, HIM’s Deficiency Tracking module works, then we can have quicker conversations to get to the root cause of a client issue. I don’t need to spend time getting them up-to-speed on the issue.
Anything else you’d like to share about your role on the Managed Services team or your experience getting certified?
Brit: I love my team! Managed Services is a great place for anyone who wants a career that continues to challenge them in a very supportive and engaging environment.
Kevin: Sharing is the name of the game in Managed Services. By no means do we operate in silos where we're unaware of what other application teams have as far as their big projects go. That goes a long way in terms of making sure we know what’s coming down the pipeline that might affect our users.
Also, our approach to earning certifications and enabling people to get certified outside of their application area really accelerates the assistance and the conversations that we have with clients. There’s always been an emphasis on personal and professional growth at Nordic, and it’s helped us build, in my opinion, one of the best remote Managed Services teams in the industry. It’s extremely rewarding to be a part of this team.