The health care industry has boomed over the last few years, growing twice as fast as the national economy. As the industry continues to grow, there will be a high demand for quality health care professionals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care and social assistance industry is expected to generate the "largest number of jobs, 5.6 million, at an annual rate of 3.0 percent" between now and 2020 -- the most dramatic growth compared to any sector in the country.
And this growth won't be slowing down any time soon. A recent paper by Georgetown University reported that around 78 million baby boomers will be older than 65 by 2030, which means that the need for health care professionals is higher now than ever before.
Robin Singleton, executive vice president and the national health care practice leader for DHR International, a recruiting firm responsible for placing executives, explained how the health care industry is transforming, especially under President Obama's health care reforms.
"The days of the independent, not-for-profit community hospitals are shrinking because they don't have the resources for the technology, medical devices and the technology to capture all of this data they have to capture that will satisfy under the new health reform," Singleton said.
Instead, health care providers -- the hospitals, pharmaceutical, life science and biotechnology companies -- are consolidating together to create large self-sustaining systems. There's also a greater emphasis on service and patient satisfaction within these new health care mega-systems.
That's partially because the Meaningful Use Act under Obama's reform says that these organizations are going to have to demonstrate "meaningful use" in order to get paid the maximum amounts allowable from the government (for Medicare and Medicaid patients) and the insurance companies. This means that providers can only fully get reimbursed if they have demonstrated through their outcomes data that the services they provide are appropriate and satisfactory to the patients.
All of this means that the health care industry is investing a lot in creating service jobs that will make sure everyone in the organization is happy. These are the health care service positions that are growing significantly right now, according to Singleton:
1. VP of the Patient Experience
"Basically, it comes down to, 'Are we the Holiday Inn or the Ritz Carlton,'" she said.
These organizations understand that they're competing with one another based on their patients and the Internet has made it easier to share reviews among the public, so if a patient has a bad experience, that scenario can be shared very quickly.
2. Chief Patient Rights and Safety Officer
This person is responsible for directing staff within the organization in order to prevent any type of possible medical or health errors that will affect the patient experience.
3. Chief Nursing Officer
"These people are needed to make the necessary changes in the trenches," Singleton said. Patients deal with nurses the most throughout their experience at hospitals, so it's essential to make sure everything is running smoothly for the nursing staff.
4. Chief Clinical Informatics Officer
"These are the MDs that take the data from patient, physician and staff surveys and make the quality changes needed for the organization to run smoothly."
5. Medical Directors
"These are the MDs that practiced for awhile, but eventually moved into administration positions," Singleton said.
6. Information Technology positions
Singleton told us these positions are needed in order to analyze data, which is crucial because data for these organizations are posted for the public, so explanations and analysis are needed.
As for the pharmacy sector, Singleton said that more emphasis is being placed right now on the research and development side, because every company is trying to find the next drug that's cheaper to make and cheaper for the consumer, yet produces the same, or better, result than its predecessor.
"Pharmacy representatives are still growing, but they're really putting their money in the researchers right now," she said. However, "the real growth is in biotech -- these offshoot little companies that are supporting the pharmacy companies."
"They basically said we'll grow your viruses for you and they're filling a particular niche to these pharmaceutical companies," she told us.
Despite the phenomenal growth taking place right now, most of the jobs opening up in health care are for highly skilled workers with multiple degrees.
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