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Health Systems Specialist

Health Systems Specialists provide health system management services in support of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Central Office programs, missions, goals and objectives to support patient care. Health Systems Specialists ensure that national programs and initiatives are carried out at the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) and facility level through supporting and consulting with medical and administrative management. They make a difference in the lives of Veterans and their families by ensuring that VA provides 21st century medical care and services that meet patient needs. These staff provide consultation and comprehensive support to senior leaders to ensure the implementation of national programs and initiatives for which they are responsible (e.g., administrative management, strategic planning, analysis of clinical and non-clinical programs and clinical research).

Knowledge Areas

Health Systems Specialists need to have a thorough understanding of:
  • Healthcare administrative practices and techniques (e.g., healthcare finance, planning, administration and legal issues)

  • External health care review standards (e.g., The Joint Commission (TJC), Baldridge health care criteria and Magnet)

  • Methods and techniques for conducting studies and gathering data to evaluate programs (e.g., root cause analysis, Structured Query Language (SQL) and Microsoft Project Management)

  • Persuasive technical writing pertaining to policy documents, briefing material and Congressional responses

  • Project management (e.g., management plans, statements of work and business case reports)

  • Administrative, clinical, allied health activities and emerging trends in the health field

  • Human Resources Administration (e.g., organizational changes, performance standards and position descriptions)

  • Patient care services (e.g., accessing medical charts, diagnostic codes and pharmaceutical distribution processes)

  • Qualitative and quantitative statistical data analysis techniques

  • Internal councils and committees (e.g., Clinical Council, Surgical Council and Dementia Committee) and their functions

Training & Developmental Experiences

Grade Range: GS07-GS09

Developmental Experiences
  • Assist in identifying ways to improve operations (e.g., Lean Six Sigma and Plan Do Check Act (PDCA))

  • Read healthcare journals and attend healthcare related conferences to stay current on emerging trends in the health field

  • Read books and articles on human resources management practices and trends related to healthcare organizations

  • Volunteer at a hospital (e.g., patient ambassador, greeter and patient escort)

  • Research The Joint Commission (TJC) requirements

  • Complete a research or evaluation study using statistical analysis techniques

  • Research or participate in governance structures preferably in healthcare settings (e.g., student councils, empirical research and American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) student chapters)

  • Complete an evaluation of a healthcare related program

  • Write a position paper, white paper or letter in response to congressional inquiry

  • Assist in developing an aspect of a project management plan

Training Resources
* This is an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training opportunity provided to all VA employees for continued career growth.
Grade Range: GS11-GS13

Developmental Experiences
  • Implement and measure sustainment of process improvement initiatives by reviewing and trending data

  • Volunteer for special projects at your facility outside of your area of expertise and present information to senior executives on research-supported trends in the health field

  • Perform hiring process duties from creation of position description (PD) to entrance on duty (EOD)

  • Analyze patient satisfaction outcomes and implement strategies for improvement

  • Volunteer to be an escort or scribe for regulatory agency visits

  • Interpret study findings and report recommended changes

  • Provide administrative/staff support (e.g., minutes) to a major hospital committee/council

  • Participate as a team member on a root cause analysis team

  • Write a comprehensive issue brief

  • Develop and oversee the implementation of a project management plan independently

Training Resources
* This is an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training opportunity provided to all VA employees for continued career growth.
Grade Range: GS14-GS15

Developmental Experiences
  • Interpret a dashboard or a stop light report and persuade senior leadership to follow appropriate action

  • Volunteer for a special project at the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) or national level and present information to senior executives on research-supported trends in the health field

  • Perform hiring process duties from creation of position description (PD) to entrance on duty (EOD)

  • Analyze patient satisfaction outcomes and implement strategies for improvement

  • Volunteer to be an escort or scribe for regulatory agency visits

  • Identify succession planning trends within the organization and offer organizational and recruitment plans

  • Volunteer to chair an interdisciplinary medical center committee

  • Manage a readiness team for a pre-site review (e.g., SOARS System Wide Ongoing Assessment and Review Strategy (SOARS) and Environment of Care (EOC) rounds)

  • Write a comprehensive issue brief

  • Chair a major hospital committee and participate in a national or network committee

Training Resources
* This is an internal Department of Veterans Affairs training opportunity provided to all VA employees for continued career growth.

Additional Information

This job has positions which range from GS07 to GS15.

As part of the duties that may be performed in this job, an employee:
  • Plans, coordinates, organizes and evaluates program operations in an action-oriented environment

  • Analyzes and develops reports and creates actions to ensure compliance with national regulations

  • Completes special studies and project requests as directed by senior leaders

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Education and Licensure


  • No mandatory requirement
  • Recommended graduate degree; health care administration/management focus

Job announcements may contain more specific requirements.

Work Interests


Work Interests refer to the types of work activities that interest you, such as interacting with people, thinking of new ideas, or working with your hands. The chart below shows the Work Interest Profile for this job.
Realistic: Low: Investigative: Med; Artistic: Med; Social: High; Enterprising: High; Conventional: High

Work Environment


Work Environment refers to the setting in which you like to work, such as inside or outside, in a competitive or supportive environment, or in an environment with a little or a lot of time pressure. The chart below shows the Work Environment Profile for this job.
Responsibility: High; Exposure to Job Hazards: Low; Physical Activity: Med; Decision Making: High; Repetitiveness: Med; Level of Competition: High; Time Pressure: Med

Click here for a complete list of terms and definitions.

Please see the My Career Fit Tool to learn about your Work Interests and Work Environment preferences.

Professional Associations


Membership in professional organizations can be useful in maintaining an awareness of developments in the field. These organizations are examples of associations aligned with this position:
My Career Toolkit :