The healthcare industry has become the largest US’s employer. Scientific advancement is constantly occurring and therefore the industry is always growing. The rise of the healthcare workforce over the past several years is due to the increase in healthcare services, equipment, technology, and pharmaceuticals. Healthcare spending continues to rise. The healthcare workforce is also robust. In turn, the gap between openings and hires is widening. Each month the healthcare industry has added an average of 24,000 jobs each month. One interesting notion is how the healthcare industry surpassed manufacturing and retail (Thompson, 2018).
The employment projections from 2016-2026 by the Bureau of labor statistics (2017) indicate that employment is expected to increase tremendously throughout the upcoming years. Chart 1 indicates the ten fastest growing occupations, projected for 2016-2026 and five of the top ten fastest growing jobs include healthcare and social assistance professionals. Of the 30 fastest growing detailed occupations, 18 typically require some level of postsecondary education for entry and several other occupational jobs are expected to experience faster than average growth such as personal care and service occupations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017).
There are many reasons why healthcare employment has been on the rise. For example, the aging country is in need of more care and more workers. In addition, publicly subsidized allows tax breaks for employers that sponsor healthcare. There is also an explosion of non-physician workers, which has created more administrative jobs. Lastly, there is resistance to automation and the healthcare sector is generally slow to the adoption of new technologies like using healthcare workforce management software or doctor & hospital staff management system, which in turn, creates more jobs.
The growth of administrative jobs is due to the complexity of the service operations for a patient. Healthcare facilities are constantly evaluating their workplace protocols to make sure the patient experience is as seamless as possible. According to Agrawal (2017), “hospital operations are in many ways like airline and airport operations and transportation services”. All of these steps involve people, not just machines. There are hundreds of mini-processes that are implemented from the time a patient books an appointment to them paying their bill for the visit. In turn, hospitals face the same cost and revenue pressure as well as the pressure from insurance companies.
There are still major issues occurring the healthcare industry such as the physician and nursing shortage crisis, which is on the rise. By 2025, the US will be short 90,000 physicians and 500,000 nurses (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). The shortage is due to providers and nurses feeling the effects of being understaff. This creates stress in their work and private life. In contrast, the rise of advanced care providers is occurring. Next, the growing social assistance roles of home health aides and personal care aides are important. Home health aides provide personal care for patients who need assistance for a variety of reasons including illness, advanced age, disability, or cognitive impairment. Home health aides may work with patients as part of a hospice care program also. In contrast, personal care aides are generally limited to providing non-medical services, including companionship, cleaning, cooking, and driving. In all, the healthcare workforce is growing at a fast pace and solutions like healthcare workforce management software need to be implemented to avoid the loss of providers and nurses.