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Consultant Corner | David Miller’s Path to Healthcare IT

Like so many other college students, David was not entirely sure how to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He always knew he wanted to work in healthcare but was unsure where that path would lead him.

As an eager 21-year-old post-grad, David brought new energy to his first position working in a microbiology lab. He steadily learned the team’s workflows and gained confidence quickly. After a couple of years in this position, a new project came to David and his team. Despite his coworkers having more experience in the lab, David’s fresh perspective made him the perfect fit to lead the efforts of upgrading an instrument for their team. During this project, while learning the functionality of this new instrument, David also worked alongside an analyst who explained the IT programming needed to build new workflows into their existing system. This connection, which merged his lab experience with a new side of healthcare, acted as the catalyst that helped David transition into the field of healthcare IT.

With his new spark, David quickly took the initiative to grow his knowledge of healthcare IT systems. His experience in the lab, paired with this newfound passion, made his next position working with Epic Beaker a natural progression. When thrust into the area of healthcare information systems, however, David did not find the same success he initially found in the lab. In the first two weeks, he became increasingly discouraged when learning the intricate nature of the IT systems and their connection to the health system overall. Although discouraged, David was able to foster that spark and push himself, ultimately working toward his Epic Beaker certification. As he progressed through this certification, it felt as if things came naturally to him, and this is when “things just took off.”

Shortly after receiving his Epic Beaker certification, he and his wife moved from downtown Pittsburg to Youngstown, Ohio. With this new city came the opportunity for a new job as well. During the search, David’s wife was a tremendous support system and helped find him an Epic position at a nearby hospital. However, David once again found himself in unfamiliar territory as this position worked specifically in the Epic Ambulatory module. Those same feelings of discouragement from his first entry point into healthcare IT were looming in the back of his mind. Despite these emerging feelings, he reminisced on his perseverance with Epic Beaker. He applied this same mindset to learning as much as he could and “caught on quick”, but this time with the assistance of a close friend and colleague, Joe Varacalli. While sharing a cubicle at Mercy Health, David learned the intricacies of Epic Ambulatory (in addition to the world of espresso due to Joe’s deskside espresso machine and vast knowledge of all things coffee.) A few years later, Joe moved on to a consulting role while David stayed to work at Mercy, continuing to expand his knowledge of the Epic Ambulatory module. During this time, David felt he was ready to challenge himself yet again and look to grow his career.

After becoming well acquainted with Epic, David began to entertain the notion of entering the consulting space. While he had worked with consultants in the past, he was not quite ready for the jet-setting lifestyle that required consultants to travel week after week. At the time, his office was a mere five-minute drive from home. He and his wife had been happily married for over a year. He was happy.

However, like so many, March 2020 changed a lot for David. As everyone took to reconnecting with family, friends and colleagues over Zoom and FaceTime, David was eager to catch up with his friend Joe. While they reminisced on many projects and their favorite espresso at Mercy, David asked Joe about his experiences as a consultant. His response was passionate. He was enjoying not only the project he was on, but the firm he was working with was amazing. Joe was happy to share his connection to the team at iMethods and, in particular his recruiter, Sean Kelly. As their conversation came to a close, although David wasn’t completely sold on the consulting lifestyle, he decided yet again to take on something new, challenging and exciting by reaching out to iMethods.

David’s initial conversation with Sean was not quite what he had expected. Although he was interested in learning more about consulting, he was not expecting Sean to present an opportunity that checked all the boxes David wanted in a consulting role so quickly. Needless to say, he had quite a bit to think about after that first conversation. The position was a great fit, but ultimately, things just moved too quickly, and David decided against moving forward but stayed in frequent communication with Sean about his desire to jump into consulting. And without much delay from that first conversation, Sean was reaching out with another position that, as David later said, “was honestly, perfect for me.” This was a niche role that a client was desperate to fill and David’s certifications in Beaker and Ambulatory made him an ideal candidate. 

With this opportunity, David faced the all too familiar big career decision. He had always heard the horror stories of working with recruiting firms, but Joe’s words were ever-present in his mind. Joe had such a wonderful experience working with iMethods, and David felt that finally, the timing was right. To our excitement, he was eager to take another leap of faith and decided to join the iMethods family. Despite the change, David said, “ . . . this has been the easiest transition to a different kind of work. . .” and we could not be happier that we get to be part of his journey down the path of healthcare IT.