The numbers don’t lie: Providing 13.5 million jobs and 8 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations, health care is the country’s largest industry. Compared to other industries, the health-care industry as a whole is expected to realize a relative increase in the number of career opportunities across the spectrum of its many specialties.
People are living longer and thus demand more and higher quality preventive and long-term care. The demand for health-care workers is expected to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations between 2000 and 2010. In particular, the demand for home care aides, registered nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, nontraditional health aides, and physicians will continue to increase at a healthy pace. This trend also applies to technical and administrative jobs, as hospitals continue to focus their energies on more efficient management and profitability.
Many people are attracted to the health-care industry for its human touch and service-oriented aspects. However, the harsh reality is that the industry as a whole is all business these days. Hospitals, nursing homes, home health care, specialized clinics-and even to some extent organizations that provide alternative medical treatments-are being run increasingly like any other major for-profit organization. Simply put, health care today is all about big business-with its focus sharpening on driving profits higher.
The health-care industry provides diagnostic, healing, rehabilitation, and preventive services. The individual physician is often the consumer’s (or patient’s) primary point of contact with the system. However, it is the health-care organization itself-that is, the hospital or health management organization (HMO)-that finances much of the industry today; it represents the preponderance of the physician’s revenues. The lion’s share of these revenues, in turn, comes from employee health insurance plans, Medicare (health insurance for Americans over the age of 65), and Medicaid (health insurance for Americans on welfare). Health-care organizations (with the exception of county hospitals) are generally run for profit. This disconnect between organizations based on the profit motive and those operating as nonprofits creates tension among doctors and other health-care professionals intent on prescribing the most cost-effective treatments and conducting diagnostic tests. Health-care organizations are increasingly driven to cut costs across the board.
A growing segment of the population is turning to a wider, more diverse set of techniques and therapies to meet health-care needs. The catchall category of alternative medicine refers to any practice outside of conventional medical treatments, including homeopathy, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic. The granddaddy of the movement is Dr. Andrew Weil, who preaches the benefits of treating a patient holistically, serving the body, mind, and spirit.
Americans are increasingly turning to herbal remedies to treat ailments, spending over 4 billion dollars a year on herbs and other botanical remedies. Health-care providers and insurance companies are beginning to recognize the legitimacy of some of these alternatives and to accept some nontraditional techniques for treating chronic health issues.
Despite the increased outsourcing (not uncommon in any industry today) of medical records, housekeeping, lab testing, and clinical services (e.g., orthopedics and radiology), hospitals remain the biggest employers in the health-care industry. The huge networks such as HCA and Tenet demand a steady supply of doctors, nurses, administrators, medical technicians, therapists, and other support staff. In areas where competition from HMOs is mounting and cost-cutting is a priority, former staff may move outside the immediate confines of a hospital. However, close and important links remain-particularly for any type of surgery or specialized treatment such as chemotherapy.
HMOS AND PPOS
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) are hybrids-basically, a cross between a hospital and an insurance company. Each type of managed care plan covers primary care visits, preventive services, and copayments for prescription drugs, whereas only PPOs allow the enrollee to choose his or her physician (HMOs maintain a list of plan-approved doctors). Some of the largest organizations have their own medical staffs and facilities where they treat patients; smaller ones may simply access networks of private providers and hospitals. Competition is fierce in this arena-M&A and internal strife often destabilize the job market. Coventry Health Care, Humana, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and PacifiCare Health Systems (one of the leading Medicare HMOs) are a few of the better-known players.
As hospitals have attempted to cut costs, they have turned to firms that can provide specialized services at rock-bottom prices. These include everything from nursing homes (Beverly Enterprises) to home infusion therapy providers (Apria Healthcare) to diabetes treatment providers (American Healthways). Clinics that focus on special treatments such as chemotherapy, MRI and other scanning techniques, and physical therapy are also proliferating. Most are small and locally run; however, Gambro and Fresenius Medical Care are two enormous service companies that focus on this type of care; others will undoubtedly emerge as their popularity increases.
Advances in technology have done much to improve efficiency and reduce costs for both patients and home care staff. Today, home care nurses and aides can administer complex treatments previously available only in hospitals and clinics to the elderly and severely disabled in their own homes. And because almost all hospitals and HMOs now release patients before they are self-sufficient, home care is often the most cost-effective choice. Most jobs in this sector don’t require much training (they are closely supervised by RNs, NPs, or physicians)-just deep reserves of patience and kindness. The pay is low-often less than $10 an hour-and the work is arduous. The rewards? In addition to extremely flexible hours and plenty of personal contact with patients, there is the satisfaction of helping people when they are most in need.
The various health-care positions require varying levels of education and training. Registered nurses (RNs) are trained at the undergraduate level, whereas nurse practitioners (NPs) have received master’s degrees in their specialties. Physician assistants (PAs) are licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. Doctors of osteopathy and medical doctors both complete 4 years of postgraduate work to earn the titles of DO and MD, enabling them to prescribe medicine and perform surgery. To qualify for some positions (including doctor, nurse, tech), technical training is required-and to actually land a job, you often need a strong network in a given area and practical experience in the industry.
RNs, pharmacists, and radiological technicians are currently in very high demand and will continue to be in the decade ahead. Why? The Baby Boomer population is maturing into retirement, the elderly population in the United States is growing, and health-care spending is being cut wherever possible-which means that today, whenever a nurse can do something a doctor used to be responsible for, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Employers are looking to attract people to these in-demand professions by offering signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement or loan repayment, flexible scheduling, and incentives for voluntary overtime shifts.
The good news doesn’t end there: Opportunities will also grow at a healthy clip for just about every other health-care function, including doctors, optometrists, occupational therapists, audiologists, medical record technologists, medical transcriptionists, and speech pathologists. The highest demand will be for physician assistants, physical therapists, lab clinicians, dental hygienists, respiratory technicians, substance abuse counselors, and especially home health-care workers.
Hospitals and HMOs offer jobs in management in addition to medicine-particularly if you have a background in information technology (IT) and data system development. As a job seeker, you should be aware that HMOs have been the catalysts for many of the efficient business practices adopted throughout the health-care industry in recent years. Technical and administrative support positions are in high demand as the industry evolves in an intensely competitive market. Health-care IT is a steadily growing sector; although the industry has been a late adopter of IT, it is catching up now. There will be lots of opportunity in this area for the tech-savvy.
As the US health care industry moves toward a financial model that is based on value rather than volume, keeping people healthy and out of the hospital will be key. In a fee-for-service (FSS) model, health systems generate more revenue when patient volume increases. But under a value-based model, a person who shows up at an emergency room or a doctor’s office becomes an expense rather than a source of revenue. Rather than seeing people as patients, health systems should treat them more like members. This shift can help strengthen customer loyalty, build brand and reputation, and even improve the health of our nation.
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Location Specific Industry Data :
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|Switzerland||NA||Villarbeney||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Australia||NSW||Earlwood||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Netherlands||ZH||Rhoon||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Great Britain||NA||Great Haywood||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|France||CENTRE||Dunkerque||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Netherlands||NB||Esbeek||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|United States||IL||Alexander||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Austria||LOWER AUSTRIA||Raschau||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Sweden||NA||Paskallavik||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Austria||BURGENLAND||Hochbruck||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Austria||BURGENLAND||Wilfleinsdorf||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Germany||RP||Ditscheid||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Denmark||REGION SJALLAND||Kobenhavn V||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Great Britain||NA||Radway Green||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Italy||NU||Nuoro||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|United States||VT||Brattleboro||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Netherlands||ZH||Naaldwijk||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
|Iceland||NA||Sau?Arkrokur||EDIT |COPY |DELETE|
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