Consultant vs Contractor –
If you are a CIO, CFO, or IT Director looking for an EHR Consultant and don’t understand the definition, you might end up with a Contractor! Beware – here’s the difference:
Consultant: Advisor, mentor, counselor, expert, specialist, professional, authority.
Contractor: Servicer, worker, independent, freelancer, supplier.
Since June of 2000 Atlanticon has built a foundation of excellence as a Healthcare IT Consulting Firm. We employ and engage CONSULTANTS, true professionals who understand their jobs, provide expert counsel, mentor the clients, and deliver healthcare IT solutions. We are skilled Project Managers, Strategists, Out-of-the-Box Problem Solvers, Designers, Analysts, Programmers, Trainers, Testers, Activation Experts.
Our mission, like that of many true Consulting Firms, is to make the client’s project succeed. In the past few years, our industry expanded… perhaps “exploded” is a better term. This was due in part to Meaningful Use. Independent contractors, contractor body shops, and contractor firms appeared overnight, each hoping to get a piece of the Stimulus Pie! Many came packaged as Consultants or Consulting Firms, “Trojan Horse” style, and the industry is still recovering.
The Impact of Some Contractors
I have seen the impact of many hospitals that hired Contractors, usually at temptingly low rates, expecting to get an expert that solved their problems. Instead, they got mercenaries who weren’t backed by a legitimate firm, who didn’t have a wealth of experience, with the client getting less than they hoped for.
Understand the Difference
Don’t get me wrong – there are some great Contractors on the market. These Contractors will have the perspective of many projects under their belt. But CIOs and IT Directors need to be clear what to look for. In most cases, a true Consultant needs no management and will exceed your expectations, while a Contractor will assimilate into your in-house team and will often require your oversight and direction, just like one of your FTEs. An expert does not become an expert after one project, nor does a Consulting Firm become a Consulting Firm just because they hire a bunch of people who say they are consultants.
I’m proud of our industry and I’m proud of the Consultants that make up the Atlanticon family. We are not the only true Consulting Firm on the market. There are many high quality consulting firms from which a hospital can choose. Most firms offer people AND solutions.
Contractors Can Be Valuable
The bottom line is this: there is a place and a specific use for Contractors – maybe in Activation Support or Training – or heads down building. Once a Contractor has experienced ten or fifteen projects and have climbed the knowledge ladder the old fashioned way, one rung at a time, they can then call themselves Consultants.
Bill Arnold, President and Co-Founder, Atlanticon