How to Build a Valuable Network of Informatics Colleagues
Getting to know your colleagues in the informatics industry is a great way to learn about best practices, workplace challenges, career opportunities, and more. Networking can happen online or in real time, depending on where you want to focus your efforts. Some of the places you can begin creating your informatics network include:
The best way to build your online health informatics network is on LinkedIn, which has over 1.5 million healthcare professionals in its professional community. That means clinicians, technologists, informaticists, and healthcare recruiters. It is this last group that is especially valuable to your career growth and progress.
If you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to get started. Your profile serves as an online resume that highlights your education, experience, skill sets, accomplishments, volunteer work, personal interests, and goals for the future. If you have a profile, make sure that it is complete and up to date.
You can start linking to friends and associates as soon as you begin creating your profile. Your profile also allows you to follow companies that you might want to work for, as well as individuals who are known leaders in the informatics space. In addition, you can join LinkedIn groups that are specific to the interests of healthcare professionals, such as the Health Informatics Technology (HIT) Group.
Any time that you can afford to attend a health informatics conference, trade show or seminar, your investment will pay off. The best strategy for working an event to your full advantage is to show up early when attendance is still sparse. It’s easier to connect with others who are in a big empty room than it is to inject yourself into existing conversations in a loud and crowded gathering.
If you can check in to your hotel a day early, that can also help you in meeting other early birds who are in town for the same event. Be sure to sign up for lectures and social events during the gathering, and frequent the exhibit hall to make yourself known to informatics vendors and consultants.
Stay abreast of the fundraising and charity initiatives happenings in your local healthcare community, and offer your time and energy in support. This can include volunteering at a health fair, fundraising walk, or special event for high-level contributors. You can also agree to speak at events targeted to students interested in the healthcare field, or put in some time doing data processing work at the free clinic in your town. Not only will you feel good about your contribution, you may even meet others who share your interest in health informatics.