Healthcare Reform Creates Opportunities for Specialized Consultants

Healthcare Opportunities

Consultants with healthcare management and business systems, compliance or financial expertise, may see opportunities for assignments increasing in the healthcare industry in the near term, given recent job growth trends in the U.S. economy.

According to the October jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare industry was once again a significant contributor to overall job growth in the nation, adding 45,000 jobs. BLS figures show that 495,000 healthcare jobs have been added to the U.S. economy over the past 12 months. That’s about one in six of the total jobs created during that time period.

In his analysis of the October jobs report, Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald points to healthcare reform as one of the primary factors for the current pattern of job growth in the industry, and notes that it is also helping to generate engagements and projects for specialized consultants.

Here’s a quick look at two promising areas for skilled consultants in the healthcare industry:

Healthcare information management systems

McDonald says there is a need for consultants with healthcare management and business systems experience who can help organizations transition to healthcare information management systems (HIMS). These systems include electronic health records (EHR) and practice management systems.

Some healthcare providers look for continued support from these experts beyond initial implementation and change management and into the optimization phase.


Compliance experts who can offer guidance on how to ensure HIMS meet regulatory requirements related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other healthcare-related mandates are also in demand, according to McDonald.

To save time and reduce the burden on their internal resources, some organizations are also hiring internal audit consultants to review their ACA compliance processes. Engaging expert resources to help verify ACA compliance can help to prevent avoidable missteps that could lead to fines.

Other opportunities for consultants

While HIMS implementation and optimization projects and compliance-related assignments are two promising avenues for skilled consultants in the healthcare industry, those aren’t the only options. Healthcare organizations are also businesses, and therefore often have need to engage specialized expertise in areas such as accounting and finance, taxation, and operations management.

Consultants can also find a range of opportunities with healthcare companies planning an initial public offering, pursuing a merger or acquisition deal, or undergoing some other type of major change event.

Looking beyond the healthcare industry, research for our latest Salary Guide indicates that many other types of businesses are turning to project professionals to access expertise for strategic initiatives. The guide foretells of opportunities in the coming year for business and financial analysts, revenue recognition experts, U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) reporting specialists, and others.

Additional resources for consultants

  • Rising Demand for Consultants to Support Business Systems Initiatives: From enterprise resource planning (ERP) upgrades to navigating a period of accelerated growth, firms seek experienced project professionals for a broad range of initiatives. And as a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey found, one area of growing emphasis is business systems.

  • How to Prepare for Business Analyst Interview Questions: Employers are being choosy about the professionals they select for specialized roles in the finance function — even when hiring consultants and project professionals. This is why many are asking tough business analyst interview questions, which can be challenging for candidates who don’t anticipate them. This post offers insight on what to expect and how to prepare.

  • Working With a Staffing Firm: 5 Benefits for Consultants: Working with a staffing firm can help to set both experienced consultants, or those just entering the field, on a course for career success. This post outlines five reasons, in addition to attractive compensation, consultants should consider working with a reputable staffing firm.

  • Robert Half Management Resources Salary Center: Download the 2016 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance. Be sure to check out the listings in the guide for in-demand attributes and credentials, which will give you a clear idea of the types of skills and experience today’s employers seek — including from consultants.