Making the Successful Transition into the Healthcare Market from Non-Healthcare Industries

For many individuals working outside of healthcare, pursuing a career in this industry may seem daunting, especially when you have little or no experience. The world of healthcare is highly regulated with reimbursement and pricing models that simply aren’t found in other industries. However, this should not be considered a barrier for those who are considering a career in healthcare, as the new model more closely aligns with industry practices familiar to most of us.

The healthcare industry has experienced profound changes especially in the last several years and offers many new opportunities for those who can help with that transformation. This is especially true when considering the rise of the consumer-driven healthcare model. Within this market, there has been a focus on wellness and preventative care to reduce the levels of the acutely ill. This not only makes for a “healthier society” but greatly reduces the cost of care as the acute care patient is much more expensive to treat. From a regulatory perspective and with the shift of healthcare premiums to the consumer, healthcare customers are more motivated than ever to seek care where they choose and make informed decisions regarding their care.

Within this new and open market, health consumers aren’t constrained to limited choices, and will be seeking services based on performance and convenience more than they ever have before. This means that the skills and traits involved in customer satisfaction and reaching out to consumers has become of greater importance than ever before and go hand-in-hand with the already excellent clinical attributes of a healthcare organization. Key skills will include collaboration, coordination, innovation, responsiveness and the ability to create and nurture trust with one’s customer base. Even if you have never worked in healthcare before, these traits and the experiences you may have with working in other industries that require similar skills may make you perfectly suited for a future in healthcare.


Providing modern-day clinical and wellness services and programs requires a huge breadth of different types of providers and offerings. A key trait required for success will lie in an individual’s ability to research an area, identify the right resources for specific problems and forge relationships with the best organizations. These collaborative relationships will ensure that goals for achieving quality are met and the right conditions exist to foster new and innovative approaches within the health care facility. A highly valued administrator doesn’t need to know everything in the field, so long as they know the right people and the right questions to ask. As in any other industry, networking will get you a long way toward developing the best possible professional relationships.


Like many other interconnected systems and processes, the coordination of clinical care requires that individuals be able to see ‘the big picture.’ This is a trait found among successful people across all industries. Because it has a huge impact on the level of clinical care that people will ultimately receive, it’s crucial that those in the field have a very acute sense for viewing holistic systems and identifying weak areas. This extends beyond identifying other providers; in today’s medical landscape, this often means coordinating a huge suite of different health and well-being services, programs and solutions. This can range from fitness programs to emergency department operations. Even though many different industries and operations require some level of coordination, it can be more complex in healthcare, but for the right people – those who can coordinate vast amounts of resources at once – it can be an exciting challenge, and one that ultimately leads to a higher quality of life within the community. This can be an incredibly rewarding job perk.


The technological revolution that has been changing virtually everything in modern-day life over the last several decades has been especially pivotal in transforming healthcare, and it appears it will continue to play an ever-increasing role in shaping the future of care. But through technology, we have found innovative medical approaches to care that are keeping people healthier, for much longer, than ever before. For those working in the medical industry, a key trait will lie in their abilities to stimulate innovation and embrace new ideas that have the potential to bring additional value to the care equation. This will rely on one’s skills with researching technologies and applications that are being used in other fields or specialties, and then identifying actionable insights from this data. Knowing when to implement the right solutions will help to ensure continued success, as it would in any industry.


Healthcare is ultimately a service that is provided, which means that those who will find success in this industry understand one of the biggest components of ensuring customer satisfaction lies in the ability to be responsive. This is a bit more complicated in healthcare simply because individuals can seek service from their provider at times when it is literally a life-or-death situation, or they may be simply looking for information. Understanding the appropriate level of responsiveness for each type of service or program is crucial. The right person will be able to communicate this to everyone at the organization and implement appropriate measures to ensure that their response is appropriate for the type of service that is being sought.

Connecting with Consumers

This is probably the single most important area where a non-healthcare background can prove to be invaluable. With the traditional healthcare model, consumers were relegated to a caregiver most times because of insurance company requirements and accepted whatever responsiveness and friendliness that caregiver provided. The caregiver had a financial relationship with the insurance company and the insurance company steered patients to the caregiver. In this new healthcare model, a larger portion of the healthcare expense is being paid by the consumer directly, so flexible schedules, courteous staff, and enhanced office atmosphere play a significant factor in the consumer’s decision of where to have their care.  The days of waiting for hours in a physician’s waiting room to see a clinician or waiting weeks for an appointment are coming to a close, as consumers now have the ability to select where, with whom and when they can have their care needs met. This is a new paradigm for the traditional healthcare professional but one that those from other industries take for granted. It is in this area that the non-healthcare professional can bring the most value. Similar to responsiveness, the ability to connect with consumers is very important in healthcare.

A lack of experience in healthcare is certainly no barrier for potentially having a long and successful career in this industry. While some elements of this type of work will require a learning curve, past experiences related to customer service and general business practices can go a long way toward demonstrating that you are suited for a career in the healthcare industry. These skills often indicate the likelihood for success in any industry, and healthcare is no exception. If you are considering making the transition into healthcare but think your lack of industry experience won't allow you to, it may be time to reconsider. Given the ongoing transformation within the healthcare system, you may just bring the right combination of skills and experience to ensure success in its shifting landscape.

Are you looking to transition into a healthcare leadership role? Connect with me to learn more about seamlessly transitioning into the healthcare industry.

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about the author

Nicholas Christiano - Northeast Practice Leader of Tatum Healthcare

Nick has 20-plus years’ achievement in C-suite leadership roles in the healthcare space, evangelizing business transformation and leveraging state-of-the-art technologies to improve performance. With experience across the entire healthcare market — from acute, post-acute and ancillary services to physician practice management and health plans — Nick has a demonstrated ability to analyze operations, pinpoint challenges and growth opportunities and then implement solutions that take enterprises to the next level.