Q: What is the best way for an IE to begin in the healthcare industry?A: There are several ways to get into the healthcare industry. One of the best ways is to begin networking with others who are already in the healthcare industry - e.g., join IIE's Society for Health Systems (it is a bargain for students at $5 per year). It ALWAYS helps to know someone! Other ways include looking for student internships or looking for student senior project opportunities at hospitals, attend the SHS conference, enter the SHS Student paper competition if you have completed an IE project in health care, etc.
Q: Should I try for an entry level job/internship in healthcare consulting (if they even hire consultants at an entry level)?A: Consulting is probably the most lucrative position for IEs in healthcare, however, it often requires extensive travel. I am currently at a non-profit hospital and although it has other great benefits (like retirement, vacation, etc.) the pay is often lower than that of a consultant. You just have to weigh out all the options and chose a position that is best suited for you. But to answer your question, yes, there are entry level jobs in consulting!
Q: Is health systems engineering limited to certain regions of the country?A: No - it is all over the country! Which is great! Again, establishing contacts via networking is a tremendous asset when it comes to job hunting! If you are seriously interested in healthcare, I think it would be worth the investment of attending the annual SHS Conference just to meet people! (The student conference registration is normally less than $200.)
Don't be intimidated by going to the conference without knowing anyone... this is a small enough group (about 300 attendees) that there is always a group going to dinner, or going out to do some fun activity that you could join in with. It is by far my favorite conference - not only for the content, but for the people and friends that I have made over the years.
Deborah D. Flint, PE, MBA, FHIMSS
Hospital Business Manager
Department of Radiology