For the last 15 years, having implementation experience of Epic Systems EMR meant that for the most part, you were going to get a job somewhere on the US mainland. This was a guaranteed situation for most people. The demand for Epic Certified Consultants has been buoyant for a least 13 years in a row. However, the domestic market is beginning to reach maturity. Many more entrants into the market are arriving via either Epic Systems themselves or from being hospital IT staff, cross trained into Epic’s modules. Whilst the increase in supply is likely to depress Consulting rates marginally, demand for Epic’s software remains high, meaning that the vast majority of skilled and certified candidates should not have a significant issue finding gainful employment.
However, a new horizon is beginning to develop for knowledgeable Epic personnel – the international market. A quick scan of the jobs page on the Epic Systems website will show you that Epic is broadening its global reach. At present, Epic is searching for staff in the UK and Singapore. Additionally, they are looking for translators to convert Epic’s software into French, Danish, and Dutch. An inside source said that Epic is considering Spanish and Italian as the next two translation targets. Looking beyond the jobs section, the front page of Epic’s website touts 2 international successes. One in Abu Dhabi (part of the United Arab Emirates) and one in the Netherlands. Epic sales are building up a head of steam in Canada with one entire province, and several individual hospitals buying the software. Further analysis of current market activity suggests that several Middle Eastern clients are considering opting for the Epic EHR. Additionally, an Australian based hospital in Melbourne already has its Epic implementation underway.
Whist much of this is anecdotal evidence, the path for continued growth at Epic appears set. International growth is the way forward.
How does this affect you personally?
There are two probable outcomes. As sales pick up abroad, opportunities for the more adventurous Epic Consultants to accept an assignment overseas will increase dramatically. Secondly, those who wish to stay here in the US will face slightly less competition for roles. Hopefully, this means that everyone will continue to be in a situation of full employment for some time to come.
What should you do if you are interested in international opportunities?
- Make sure you have a valid passport (minimum 6 months to run before expiration). Applying for a passport at the time a job offer is made may significantly delay the process, and potentially cost you the job.
- Consider setting up bill pay using online banking. Whether you are here or abroad, this can make life easier for a travelling Consultant to manage their bills.
- Research the destination country. Look up the local traditions, culture, food, and language (many countries may have hospital staff that speak English, even if that is not the local language). Decide whether that is the type of place you would like to spend a significant amount of time.
- Remember that for most international jobs (Mexico and Canada excluded), regular flights back to the US are not an option. Generally, the majority of international projects allow for one flight home per year.
- Know that there is an increased likelihood you will need to become a fulltime member of the consulting company’s staff. This may be essential for visa processing, insurance and legal reasons, and to obtain the appropriate medical coverage. Working as an independent Contactor may not be practical.
- Look up the tax situation. Some countries allow foreign expats tax free salaries, (but, Uncle Sam does not). As a US citizen anywhere in the world, you have to report back to Uncle Sam on your income. For tax year 2017 (filing in 2018) the expat exclusion amount was $102,100. Income above that is taxable on the federal level, state taxes may or may not apply). Other countries do not offer tax exempt situations. For example, Denmark does not and has a very high rate of individual taxation. Some countries don’t have reciprocal taxation agreement (though these are few and far between) meaning you may face dual taxation. Make sure you are fully aware of the taxation circumstances before you go.
- Register your interest with a reputable organization with extensive experience in handling international job placement. I recommend Global Healthcare IT, Inc. (full disclosure – I am the CEO at Global Healthcare IT, Inc. and wrote this article, so I am biased). Choosing Global Healthcare IT, as one of the most established names in Epic consulting/staffing for the past 15 years, you can be assured that you are in well experienced, safe hands. Start your adventure by sending a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Global Healthcare IT has over 20 years’ experience providing top quality IT staff on an international basis. For more information call Bettsy Farias at 562-249-8028 or write to her at BFarias@globalhit.com.