June 11, 2021 –
Bayhealth — recognized as one of the nation’s Most Wired health systems, with hospitals in Dover and Milford — is always looking for IT superstars: caring, compassionate, patient and motivated talent who get excited about going to work every day.
Healthcare may not be the first industry that comes to mind for young talent looking to launch a career in information technology (IT) — or for seasoned talent looking to retrain or upskill for a second career, for that matter. But the trajectory of change that has steadily increased the pace of technology advances over the last 20 years — fuel-injected by virtual demands created in the last year by the COVID-19 pandemic — make healthcare IT one of today’s fastest-growing, most exciting career options for those hoping to advance their earning potential while making a difference in their community.
The IT team at Bayhealth believes there is no better place to put the winning combination of hard skills and soft talents that are required in the healthcare industry to work than in Central or Southern Delaware.
“Bayhealth uses technology to do what needs to be done to care for patients,” says Vice President and Chief Information Officer Richard Mohnk. “We have programs in place to train and educate our team as they advance in their careers, but we need to continuously feed those programs with talented people who have a desire to be great.”
Bayhealth IT Supports More than 200 Applications
Wesley Coombs, Bayhealth’s Service Desk supervisor, leads the team that takes calls around the clock from both employees and patients looking for help with software and application issues. Because they support more than 200 IT applications, Coombs says the Service Desk is a great place to get a foot in the door and gain valuable experience for a career in healthcare IT.
Bayhealth is certainly not alone in the search for great technical talent, but the healthcare industry’s IT needs are so specialized that it’s almost unheard of for someone to transition from another industry directly into a mid-to-advanced seniority analyst or project manager position with a medical center. Those positions typically require a four-year degree or a minimum of three years of healthcare-related work experience.
By partnering with their Central Delaware academic neighbors – Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College and Wilmington University – Bayhealth has created a pipeline that already has brought in 22 entry-level staff who work up to 24 hours a week on the IT department’s Service Desk while they finish their degrees.
As team members sharpen their IT skills and gain familiarity with the clinical areas that need support throughout the medical center, they are first in line for opportunities to advance to higher-paying analyst and project manager positions within Bayhealth. But that leaves openings for Coombs to fill back on the Service Desk.
To meet the challenge, the retired veteran called on his own experience as a drill sergeant. Just as the military teaches someone with the right personal attributes to be a soldier, Coombs realized that he is in a position to help the right candidates gain the work-related experienced needed to advance to a higher-level position in healthcare IT.
For example, most IT professionals have great technical skills, understand hardware and know how to manipulate applications. But taking a call from a clinician who needs trouble-shooting help under pressure to access a patient’s imaging report, or from an elderly member of the community trying to figure out how to use a smartphone app to schedule a virtual appointment, takes patience, compassion and a true desire to help, according to Coombs.
“Under Wesley’s supervision, Bayhealth’s Service Desk offers a remarkable entry-level process with great exposure to healthcare to create a career path from within,” says Mohnk.
IT needs remain a key concern for employers throughout Delaware, with talent needed at all levels – from entry to highly specialized – who are qualified in software, networks, cyber security, data management and tech support. Two-thirds of Delaware’s IT jobs are found outside the traditional “tech” sector in areas of finance, manufacturing, education, government and, of course, healthcare.
To help build a more diverse tech talent pipeline for 2021 and beyond, Delaware Prosperity Partnership is leading a public-private initiative of more than 50 stakeholders representing Delaware businesses, nonprofits, educational institutions and workforce development organizations. Collectively, they are developing a coordinated and demand-driven approach to meeting the state’s IT talent demands. Their work is funded by a workforce readiness grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
At Bayhealth, Coombs’ mission aligns with the state’s aims as he focuses on bringing in the right people to work the Service Desk in preparation for their next step on the career ladder. He says he finds it fulfilling to watch his team grow, develop and gain confidence.
“Seeing my team help our employees and patients get the help they need really is one of the most rewarding feelings,” Coombs says. “It feels like we are giving back.”
“We enjoy teamwork and camaraderie here at Bayhealth,” Mohnk says. “We’re always looking to bring in the next IT superstar — and our goal is to see hard-working, great talent succeed.”