What job title or job description do you give someone who spends much of their time solving integration issues within a hospital setting? In my opinion it’s pretty telling to see what titles the staff desires — often a mix of two concepts. Specifically, a typical HL7-aware, integration engine user at a hospital builds a title combining:
Interface, Integration, Application, or Systems
– along with –
Programmer, Developer, Specialist, or Analyst.
In the mix-and-match process, you can be an Interface Programmer, a System Analyst, or (my preferred title) Integration Analyst.
The telling part of the title is if the staff members want to focus on higher-level issues/concept (“Integration”) or lower-level details (“Interface”). Equally interesting is if they want to use more technical titles like Developer/Programmer or more work-flow focused terms like Analyst/Specialist.
My real point is three-fold:
- Who cares about titles anyway?
- What do your staff members actually do? Are they heads down, only-write-code, roll-the-pizza-under-the-door types or do they also get into the workflow efforts and solve higher-level issues?
- With modern integration engine tooling, the programming of interfaces is going away and the highest value work is analyzing the real integration issues. Said another way, as providers adopt more efficient integration platforms, it will become much more difficult to be only the low-level, “tell me what you want and I’ll code it” interface programmer.
Bottom line: IMO a successful healthcare integration career is more about clinical terminology, workflow and data models and way less about coding Tcl, Java, or Monk.
Thought questions — I welcome your comments below:
- What titles do you use?
- Is it time for a new title based on your current job functions?
- How challenging is it to title-hop within the political structure of pay grades and formal, institutional titles?
- If you view your inner self as a technical geek who loves to code, is it painful to drop the word “developer” or “programmer” from your title?
- Are you a less-satisfied geek if your title says “Integration Analyst” rather than “Java Developer”?
- How would a less geeky title positively impact your interactions with non-technical staff?
Additional reading: Thirteen Steps to Selecting the Right HL7 Interface Engine
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