“Wow, what? This cannot be correct!?”

This is what I was thinking while I was writing up my bio for my new business endeavor and realized I’ve been working for thirty years.

Interestingly enough, I’ve worked in the rehabilitation services and the behavioral health “space” for all of it.

I worked in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation service through college and until I was thirty, and have spent the last twenty years working in healthcare technology. I’m absolutely in no way a person who writes code, but am a conduit between clinical staff and programmers.

Some of us remember a time when you would be asked, “So what do you do? Software for mental health? What is that?”

Prior to the Mental Health Parity Act and the update in 2008 with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act you pretty much had to get better in 10 visits. The concept of mental health and addiction being chronic conditions was pretty much not a thought, at least in the commercial insurance market. It was slow, but the applications and services within the mental health and wellness market are exploding.

I’ve worked for a number of behavioral health electronic health record providers and have learned a couple of things. I wrote a long list and tried to narrow it down to the seven most important lessons.

Know the endgame: Yes, the goal of every company is to make money and solve problems. But there is a full continuum between making money and solving problems. A company will go out of business if it’s on either end of the spectrum. Choose wisely.

Why are you here? To help providers? To make a lot of money? Because you like healthcare technology? Dig deep into your own “why,” and then talk to others. There are no wrong answers. We need to align ourselves with the companies we work for.

How many references? This is something I say over and over. The more clients shouting good things from the rooftops the less you will need to spend on sales and marketing.

Feeling stifled? I’ve learned not to ignore my feelings. If it feels bad, it is bad. There is a ton of opportunity out there for the best. Everyone has their own “North Star”, pay attention to it.

What worked today, will not work tomorrow: Stay flexible. What is working now, or relevant today, may not be tomorrow. It’s important to be comfortable with asking questions. Sharpen up on new topics, and keep growing.

All ships can rise together: If vendors or consultants create wedges, this is always bad and is usually about making more money from you. The clinical term is called triangulation or splitting. Relationships are between two people or organizations, there is not a “go-between”.

Mixed Feelings: Ambivalence is good. This means you are a critical thinker, a real leader, and most of all you are looking out for others. Yes, overall, organizations do not like to get a critical look from staff, but toxic positivity is real.

It’s important to keep sharing what you’ve learned and focus on what you want out of your career. We are all different. I wish you continued success in the journey of figuring out what you want to do with your life.