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Nov 26, 2012 11:02:00 PM · by David Kushan

Will Travel Requirement Trends Lead To More Healthcare IT Consultants?

Once Health IT employees gain a certain level of experience working at a hospital, they have the option to consider working as consultants. As Health IT consultants, they would have the ability to increase their income by 25-70%, depending on their specific skills and the type employment or contracting relationship they put in place. Now, I understand that money isn’t everything, but it’s a motivator for many people who get into consulting. However, what keeps most people from getting into consulting is the amount of travel required.

I don’t have exact numbers, but I would guess that only one in every 40 people who work either implementing or supporting a Healthcare IT application are willing to travel the four days a week typically required of consultants. Since only 2% (my best estimation) of people working are willing to travel the required amount, the supply of potential consultants is generally low. This is the main reason why consultants earn more than people doing a similar job working at a hospital.

Today, demand for knowledgeable, experienced consultants is high, and many consultants are extremely content with the income they’re earning. In some cases, consultants with certain skill sets can begin to ask for, and probably receive, higher compensation. But what’s interesting is that many consultants aren’t asking for more money — they’re asking for the ability to travel less. Working remotely from home is becoming the “new currency.” So, if a consultant is negotiating a six-month contract, instead of leveraging for more money, they may ask for the ability to work remotely half the time. The fact is, many consultants are getting these terms.

If these new travel requirements become the norm, my question is, “How many people who are not currently interested in consulting may become interested?”

So, as I mentioned before, only one out of every 40 people are willing to travel four days a week, every week. But if the requirements change to travel every other week, how many additional people will be willing to do it?

If only one of the remaining 39 people who were not willing to travel before now become open to the idea, this would double the number of consultants. If this were to take place, what would happen to these consultants’ compensation? Basic supply-and-demand would suggest that compensation may go down. Having said that, I believe the demand for consultants will stay strong. So, clients offering some flexibility in travel schedule may be just what’s needed in order to increase the supply of consultants who are in high demand across the country.

You may also like: How to Price Yourself in Health IT Contracting

Consulting, Hiring, Corporate Culture, David Kushan

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