As I watch so many of my colleagues take long term International engagements, it dawned on me that we are seeing two opposite spectrums of opportunities being presented to us. The first is remote, work from home or office, in Managed Services offerings including tier 1/2 help desk, patient portal support, or application management. The second, is to agree to be sent far away for months at a time for International engagements. Talk about one extreme to the next. The question really is, what offering has long term benefits for you as a consultant? Let’s take a minute to think about both.
Managed Services is booming right now. Clients are looking to outsource IT staffing in a remote capacity to manage their systems. This reduces overall costs, staffing head count, retention concerns, and enables prioritization of major projects while the outsourced firm “keeps the lights on” for day to day maintenance. Allowing yourself an opportunity to expand your skill set into this type of work opens doors for stable, local, long term, non-travel related consulting work. Don’t limit yourself to traditional client travel based contract work. I have way too many colleagues who have been between projects. While the pay is not as high, the work is steady, and you will maintain your skills, and possibly expand your marketability.
Introduction level Managed Services is a huge growth area right now. Tier 1 and 2 help desks are being offered by firms all over the country in traditional office spaces. We’ve seen in several recent press releases in the news about firms investing in facilities and expanding into both internal and patient facing support centers. These offices need leadership and management from experienced EHR application experts. Training and development of teams is a huge opportunity for those looking to get off the road and lead teams of resources into customer service and technical support.
On the other side of the coin, for those of us still loving the road warrior adventure, is international travel opportunities. Major implementations are happening in countries including Canada, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Germany…to name a few. Epic is growing in the EU and Middle East while MEDITECH expands in Australia with 66 hospitals now across platforms (mostly CS). How many of those customers in Australia will be looking to transition from CS to Expanse? Did you know Epic is in Lebanon and MEDITECH is in Kuwait? There are tons of opportunities across the globe right now.
Understanding travel requirements and tax implications is essential prior to making any decision on international support engagements. Talk to your firm’s recruiting resources and review their policy on obtaining visas, extended travel durations, and any potential out of pocket costs to you. Additionally many firms use third party contracts to manage the international aspects of the business. Larger global firms usually have international agreements with the major EHR vendors but often outsource to other firms for consultants and application specialists. Be sure to gather all the details of how that would work and impact you as well.
What are your thoughts? Ready to stretch your wings in fly across the world…or thinking maybe something remote? Share your comments below.