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Five Factors Driving Growth in Healthcare Management

Image: Graphic depicting growth in healthcare management

You don’t have to look far to see that the healthcare industry is expanding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical and health service managers, for example, are expected to grow by 23% through 2022, which is faster than average. But what exactly is driving growth in the healthcare industry? At AIU’s recent Serious Talk Webinar, “Where the Jobs Are in 2014,” senior healthcare executive, author and AIU Online business program faculty member Dr. Robert Rodriguez, discussed five factors contributing to this trend:

Aging population. Probably the biggest driving force in healthcare growth is population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook notes, “As the large baby-boom population ages and people remain active later in life, the healthcare industry as a whole will see an increase in the demand for medical services. Managers will be needed to organize and manage medical information and healthcare staffs in all areas of the industry.”

WATCH VIDEO: AIU Serious Talk - Where the Jobs Are in 2014

Diversification. With all of this demand for healthcare comes growth and reorganization of services to most efficiently meet changing healthcare needs. “We are seeing is diversification, so hospitals are now opening their own skilled nursing facilities. They are getting into other businesses,” said Dr. Rodriguez, noting that as medical services become more diverse and more businesses open, we will see an increased demand for non-clinical healthcare business managers. “They are looking for people with more of a business background rather than promoting a clinician to an administrative job, because it’s an entirely different mindset, skill set. So they are starting to look for people who can do accounting, people that can set up records and manage large record systems.”

With all of this demand for healthcare comes growth and reorganization of services to most efficiently meet changing healthcare needs. “We are seeing is diversification, so hospitals are now opening their own skilled nursing facilities. They are getting into other businesses,” said Dr. Rodriguez, noting that as medical services become more diverse and more businesses open, we will see an increased demand for non-clinical healthcare business managers. “They are looking for people with more of a business background rather than promoting a clinician to an administrative job, because it’s an entirely different mindset, skill set. So they are starting to look for people who can do accounting, people that can set up records and manage large record systems.”

Creation of for-profit businesses. While most hospitals operate on a non-profit basis, hospitals are only a small part of the growing healthcare sector. There are physical therapy practices, home healthcare businesses, technology companies, and healthcare-related businesses that support the healthcare system. These are primarily for-profit businesses. “Physicians are breaking away from hospitals and setting up their own ambulatory healthcare practices,” Rodriguez pointed out. “That’s where I think we are going to see a real need for managers as well as for those who can do strategic planning.”

RELATED: Business Degree Benefits for Healthcare Careers  

Changes in healthcare law. Recent comprehensive changes to healthcare law brought about by the Affordable Care Act are projected to significantly change the demand for healthcare. As a greater proportion of the population gains access to medical benefits, healthcare organizations may also see a shift in patient needs as well as an increase in demand. “For my side in the business with hospitals and healthcare, a lot of it is a question of how’s reimbursement going to change? How is the patient population going to change? Expenditures, staffing, where they diversify, how they grow?” said Rodriguez.

Advancing technology. New technology will continue to change the way healthcare is provided and managed. Medical advances, record keeping, information systems and information sharing will all continue to change and become more complex. New technology will likely expand opportunities for companies to diversify their offerings into the healthcare sphere. Advances in medical technology and information systems may also create a need for technical healthcare managers who are able to plan, direct and integrate new technology solutions into existing organizations.

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