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Staying Prepared in a Hot M&A Environment in Health IT

July 24, 2015
by Tim Tolan
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Tim Tolan

It’ s that time of year again – time to see which healthcare IT companies made the Healthcare Informatics 100 list, and how they rank in 2015. It’s also a chance to see which companies have fallen off the list for a variety of reasons including all of the consolidation that’s been taking place in our market; as well as to read about some exciting Up and Comers. The merger and acquisition environment in the HCIT market remains very strong and the amount of capital invested today in this market is nothing short of phenomenal. There is significant demand by both strategic and financial buyers and expect that to continue for the foreseeable future. One example of this trend is in the digital health space. Funding for U.S. companies in the digital health space in 2014 was $4.1 billion, nearly equal to the total funding of the previous three years combined. That’s huge!

HCIT consolidation covers the waterfront:  it includes larger more established companies but also includes smaller start-ups and medium size early stage companies. Most of these companies have invested capital in some very unique niche solutions while others have focused on solutions for more developed markets with a seemingly better mousetrap. All of these players struggle with the same challenge: It’s hard to achieve meaningful scale without sufficient capital. These strategic and financial buyers are seeking to add a new line of business or enter the market while these niche players are seeking capital to grow to the next level.

This consolidation, while normal in the business world can plan havoc on the human capital in these companies and create stress and possible financial hardship for some of the employees impacted. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t get caught flat-footed if your organization is involved in a merger or acquisition:

Keep your network active and updated. Make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects your career success and highlights metrics that recruiters and future employers would be interested in. Join groups that connect you with people that have similar backgrounds to yours or new groups or niches that interest you.

Make a commitment to add 15-20 new LI contacts each week and connect with people and companies that interest you. I started using LI about 10 years ago and now have nearly 4,000 direct 1st degree connections and have access and can reach well over 1M people in this space. 

Keep your resume updated and make sure you review it periodically to ensure the information is correct. When using bullets below each position you’ve held—make sure they are listed in the order of importance that a potential employer cares about. In other words list your greatest career accomplishments to help you stand out in the sea of other candidates.

Keep in touch with the references that you’ll need to provide to your future employer. Make sure that you stay in touch with them constantly and not just when you need them. That’s never a good plan.  

Look for signs that things are changing in your company and don’t be the last person to leave the boat. Too many candidates I speak with wait too long to consider dipping their toe in the water. It always helps to have options and it never hurts to pursue something new and exciting before the hammer comes down.

Make sure you keep your head about you and don’t over-react to changes from a merger or acquisition that leaves you on the outside looking in. if you sense something is happening—get busy. Looking for a job is truly a full time endeavor and candidates must dedicate time on a regular basis to make connections and to develop relationships before any chaos begins. It’s just a good practice.

Finally, try to project a good attitude and demonstrate you are a team player when you are interviewing and in pursuit of your next job. Hopefully when the shoe falls you will be well ahead of the curve.

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