Healthcare — a sector often perceived as slow to change and bogged down by regulation — is probably not the first industry you'd associate with innovation. But healthcare is actually poised to become one of the most innovative fields because of its considerable capacity for growth and change, and young job seekers looking to make an impact in a transforming field need look no further.
As one of the largest industries in the United States, healthcare covers a wide breadth of services that all present opportunities for innovative solutions. Digital health media company Health 2.0 points out that the field has recently seen new market entrances, new business models and new applications for technology.
These and many other factors have the potential to advance healthcare quickly and significantly, but it's up to the people behind healthcare as a whole and what steps they take. Indu Subaiya, Health 2.0's co-founder, comments: "Ideally [healthcare innovation] responds in real time to our actions."
With that much room for growth, the healthcare sector is hungry for young talent — and it’s not limited to traditional roles like doctors and nurses. Jobs in healthcare administration are expected to grow by 22 percent over the next two years, offer great monetary benefits and provide high levels of job satisfaction. For bright young people wanting to make a difference and work on the cutting edge of innovation, healthcare is an ideal place to start.
Advancements in Healthcare
Data and technology are helping the healthcare field push the innovation envelope. Artificial intelligence is one advancement allowing clinicians to perform their jobs better and more efficiently. Radiologists, for example, are using AI to process images, which then helps them diagnose patients more accurately. And the rise of machines doesn't negate the human element of healthcare. Technology streamlines certain aspects of the job, giving healthcare providers more time to connect with patients.
Patients and other professionals are also playing a larger role in designing the healthcare systems and processes of the future. Some institutions are empowering patients, engineers, designers and business people to contribute to innovation programs. Outside input has helped the Helix Centre at Imperial College of London transform end-of-life care and improved the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation's clinical exam rooms, for instance.
At the heart of these advances is collaboration, which bodes well for the innovative job-seeker without a medical degree. There is a multitude of opportunities to contribute to this field, including these four roles:
1. Medical Assistant
If you’re looking for more variety in your day-to-day and you’re interested in taking on some medical care duties, a medical assistant position may be a great option. This role allows you to assist physicians with things like taking patients’ blood pressure and even participate in minor procedures. This is in addition to general office tasks like updating records and helping patients schedule appointments.
This is also a very in-demand role, expected to grow nearly 30 percent between 2016 and 2026 — much faster than the average position within the healthcare industry.
2. Medical Biller
This role provides a great opportunity if you have an interest in math and finances. There are plenty of opportunities within the United States — demand for this job will grow by around 15 percent by 2024. Medical billers maintain records, collect patients’ payments and help facilitate insurance claims for reimbursements.
3. Medical Secretary
Medical secretaries are responsible for making sure medical offices run smoothly and efficiently. It's one of the most in-demand jobs in the country, and the position handles all of the vital functions of the office. It's a great role for the organized individual who's tech-savvy enough to work with all the new platforms and devices being implemented.
4. Occupational Therapist Aide
Similar to a medical assistant, an occupational therapist aide helps with treatment and clerical tasks. Occupational therapists focus specifically on rehabilitative services, so the work differs in the type of patient care you’d be helping to provide.
The key to getting hired into one of these positions is leveraging past transferrable experience. For example, previous admin experience would give you a leg up to get hired as a medical secretary, while a financial background would help you attain a job as a medical biller.
Even if you don’t have relevant experience, you can apprentice first. And from there, many of the roles allow for upward mobility through various certifications.
So while it may seem like Silicon Valley-type companies are leading the way in the innovative tech space, healthcare should be seen as the new face of innovation. It's evolving rapidly, and it has huge potential to affect our everyday lives. For those want to make a difference in a transformational field, healthcare provides a wealth of opportunities.