Healthcare employment set to explode

Amid healthcare reform changes to promote healthcare integration and national deficit reduction to save, healthcare jobs are projected to soar, according to a report by Bipartisan Policy Center Health Professional Workforce Initiative with The Deloitte Workforce Initiative released on Tuesday. However, the healthcare industry needs more data to determine the mix of healthcare professionals to meet demands.

"In a health system that promises more coordinated, inter-professional, integrated care, we must take an all-inclusive look at our future workforce needs," said the report's lead author Paul Keckley, executive director of The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, in a Tuesday press release.

Healthcare employment went from 8.7 percent in 1998 to 10.5 percent in 2008 of the total U.S. civilian workforce and is expected to rise to 11.9 percent in 2018. That means total healthcare employment will jump from 15.8 million in 2008 to 19.8 million in 2018, according to the report.

From 2008 and 2018, healthcare employment will grow by 23 percent, compared to only 9 percent in all other employment sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that time, healthcare professionals will see the following changes in job growth:

  • Registered nurses to grow 22.2 percent
  • Licensed practice and licensed vocational nurses to grow by 20.7 percent
  • Home health aides to grow by 50 percent
  • Nursing aids, orderlies, and attendants to grow by 18.8 percent
  • Personal and home care aides to grow by 46 percent
  • Physicians and surgeons to grow by 21.8 percent

With those numbers in mind, hospitals and health systems should consider how quality correlates with staffing levels and care providers, as well as traditional roles versus informal care givers. Healthcare organizations also should look at patient engagement in wellness and results of complementary medicine. And finally, they should consider the role of technology in monitoring outcomes.

"A sustainable health care system will have enough professionals to care for all Americans in the right place at the right time," former Senate Majority Leader and BPC Health Project coleader Bill Frist said.

For more information:
- check out the executive summary of the report (.pdf)
- read the press release

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