Healthcare jobs have been, as with other industries and sectors, changing drastically over the last decade. In specific regard to healthcare, however, the global pandemic has required a rethink of some of the accepted norms, procedures, and healthcare professions. If you are in healthcare at the moment, working in a different yet related profession, or are looking to get into healthcare, it is worth knowing how some of these changes will impact you.
There have been changes in the way these jobs are perceived, i.e., the importance of the jobs as well as the manner in which those who do the jobs are viewed and valued.
Risk and recognition
Never before have the risks associated with healthcare and healthcare provision been as highlighted on a global scale as they have in the last 18 months. The increased demand for healthcare and the fact that healthcare providers, workers, doctors, nurses were all at the forefront of the recent ongoing global crisis has highlighted the undeniable way that these workers are essential and not any longer just by name.
Governments, private care providers, and healthcare provision at large were forced to protect workers to secure the continuation of services, and this understanding of risk faced by healthcare workers has changed the outlook for these services.
It is this improved understanding of risk that relates directly to the recognition of the sacrifice endured by healthcare workers. There is also a greater understanding of the benefits of working in a sector that is giving back to the community and society. Employment in the healthcare sector in the US is expected to rise by 15% by 2029. This is not only a significant growth in itself but is also better than any other occupation. The occupation is growing exponentially and so too is the level of remuneration across the board.
From registered nurses to physicians, doctors, and healthcare managers, healthcare jobs are seeing some of the largest rises in wages than ever seen before. A figure of as much as 37% increases in healthcare wages is expected over the next seven years. This is a clear sign that the profession is rebounding after a while in the doldrums.
If you are looking for the feel-good factor in a good profession, there is no time like right now to get into a career in healthcare. Jobs in healthcare are expected to be more fulfilling and provide more intrinsic meaning for those who do them.
Health sector management has become one of the fastest-growing careers in the world. A lot of the criticism by advisors, commentators, and analysts has been the management of healthcare, which highlighted the fact that management and administration of health is a very specific skill as evidenced by leaders in the education space. On Suffolk University’s Online MBA Degree Health Sector Management Concentration, wherein the focus is on producing the leadership and skills required for health in our current climate of uncertainty and increase in global health risks, healthcare professionals can come out better prepared.
In addition to recent criticism and a call for improved healthcare management, the reality of a growing population simply means that there will be an increased demand for healthcare as well as an increase in pressures on existing facilities. This will require innovative managers able to adapt and keep abreast of the latest systems, processes, and methodologies to manage the transition to improved healthcare.
Technology for better healthcare
While there have been significant innovations in medical and healthcare that aim to rid the world of disease and improve the life expectancy of ordinary people, what had been stagnant for many years was the way in which healthcare professionals interacted with their patients. One positive outcome of the pandemic is that technology has become a significant tool for innovating that interaction. The advent of digitally enabled care has become a key factor in the way in which patients and ordinary people not only access information but engage with others in similar situations.
Physician Dr. Nundy argues that “Digitally enabled” refers to the idea that the right role of technology in healthcare is simply to increase the care in healthcare”. Sometimes referred to as Netflix for medicine, virtual healthcare overcomes the difficulties and challenges that arose due to the COVID pandemic. In the US, research has shown that from February to April 2020, insurance claims for telehealth visits grew to a staggering 12 million per month. This was from a previous peak of just over half a million previous to this.
Any healthcare provider, manager, or professional will need to understand and optimize these new technological advancements in engagement in order to provide healthcare and also reassure their patients of their service provision. One of the keys to healthcare in the future will be not only ensuring your healthcare provision is technologically on trend but that you are also connecting your patients to each other through platforms and apps that build communities.
Jobs in health-tech are trending like no others, and it is expected that the latest developments in healthcare will come from this sector. There are several health startups that are making headlines and one of the biggest trends in the use of big data to develop trends, create detailed health analytics, and provide ideas as to both proactive health management as well as cure and medication success rates. Headspace (with a focus on healthcare software) and Paige (Artificial intelligence interfaces for pathology) are just two great US examples of health startups that have disrupted the sector and to whom we look for the next big thing in health. In line with this, there will be job opportunities that become available at the nexus of health and technology. It is a space that will be cutting edge and provide some of the highest wages in healthcare both now and for the foreseeable future.
Increases in innovation
The speed at which the vaccinations have been developed is a case in point as to how there have been marked improvements and developments in innovation in healthcare and medicines.
E-diagnosis: Patients or potential patients are able to use electronic means to get a diagnosis. This may be using virtual chat, Skype or Zoom, or even apps that are connected to the state healthcare system for recording and reporting results. This is not only taking advantage of technology to interact with patients, but could also significantly reduce waste, time and resources from unnecessary in-person visits to healthcare professionals. The American Medical Association and Wellness Council has reported that almost 75% of visits to the hospital are unnecessary or could be handled both effectively and safely virtually.
Being able to interact with patients and diagnose any illness or condition and provide treatment virtually is a growing trend and something that are likely to continue in the future. Many Americans who have cut costs in healthcare as a result of virtual clinical education and telemedicine are opting to continue this in the future.
The cost of an appointment for the average American claiming from their healthcare insurance provider has dropped by around $50 per appointment; who would not want to continue those cost savings if the outcome is the same?
Immunotherapy: The changes in the way medicine and treatments are now able to be specifically suited to certain immune profiles means that chronic illness and diseases treatments are providing a much-improved quality of life. Understanding the role of the immune system has become a significant area of research. This has come to the fore during the COVID pandemic when it has become clear that a strong immune system will play a strong role in the fighting of the disease.
The key to immunotherapy provision is that it is tailored and precise in its approach to using the immune system to control and defeat disease, particularly cancer. Research shows that almost 20% of cancer patients are currently achieving durable results using immunotherapy. The science behind immunotherapy is that it uses the body’s own defenses to attack cancer. While the results vary across different patients, there are optimistic improvements, and the future of immunotherapy is growing and innovative.
Virtual reality and artificial intelligence are but a few of the healthcare changes that have created an entire sector of healthcare jobs. Virtual reality in medicine is not something new, with the first virtual reality-based simulated surgery to remove a brain tumor conducted in 2009. However, VR has increasingly become relevant and necessary over the last 18 months and will continue to do so in the future.
There has been a growing trend in using VR for surgical training during the last few months and providing a real opportunity to continue training new professionals in the healthcare sector despite current restrictions. This allows budding surgeons to not only practice the technical aspects of surgery through virtual reality tools, but there are apps that can ensure they also learn the skills to deal with emergencies, high-stress environments, and sudden challenges.
The further benefit of this kind of training and work is that it allows for significant data collection and analysis of those being trained so that their heart rates, stress levels, and overall preparedness can be gathered and then analyzed for improved performance.
Information technology and its integration into modern healthcare for both diagnosis as well as treatment will present a wealth of new career options. Your link to the healthcare sector may not be a direct one working with patients, but instead working on technology that improves the lives of patients and makes the work of healthcare professionals easier and more efficient.
The number of companies looking at investing and innovating in healthcare technology is growing, and there is a keen interest from some of the world’s biggest technology companies in the healthcare sector. Microsoft, for example, has shown an interest in such companies and has been trying to get into the healthcare sector for a number of years. As AI software and technological innovation in healthcare grow, so do the career opportunities for those with the technological skills and expertise.
Proactive home-based healthcare
Creating both the environment and systems to be able to holistically diagnose and then deal with less serious but cumulative healthcare issues in the home has been promoted in this period and will continue. The idea of a patient-centered response to healthcare will become more focused as healthcare is taken to the home level. All the checks, tests, measurements, and more related to holistic healthcare that can be done in the home are being encouraged and actively changed to allow for more ease of application and integration.
If you think of the elderly who may need to take a long time to prepare for an appointment or those with mobility issues, having the ability to have assessments done in the home either virtually or by the patient or client will be a vital improvement.
Proactive healthcare will drive a major demand for additional healthcare workers, managers, and physicians. Taking healthcare to where it is needed most is the next big step and will only happen with the increase in jobs and opportunities. Again, it is worth knowing that where there is an opportunity such as this, there will be those who start companies to fill these gaps, so whether it be through employment or by starting your own home healthcare venture, care in homes for proactive management of long term health for all is becoming a reality.
Now is arguably, always the best time to make any changes in your career. If you are thinking it, then it may be worth doing some further research on determining what your specific options are; it is always worth knowing. Not only have the jobs changed in actual practice, but the perception and importance paid to these jobs have also in tandem changed for the better. Long may this way of thinking continue. Healthcare jobs and careers have changed for the good, and it is changes such as these discussed that have once again made healthcare a preferred career choice for so many.