If anyone should feel confident about the future, it is those working in the healthcare industry. Thanks to a rapidly aging population and advances in late-life medicine, job growth in the healthcare field has been stratospheric. The field employs more than one in 10 Americans, and is projected to add more jobs than any other industry over the next decade.
Healthcare growth has become an irresistible force. But it is now about to confront another powerful force: automation. Automation has vastly increased productivity, while simultaneously imposing large job losses in many of the industries it has touched.
So what happens when automation and the healthcare industry collide? Will automation negatively or positively affect the healthcare industry and job prospects?
Automation in Healthcare
The healthcare industry has some fairly potent structural defenses against the power of automation to eliminate jobs. First, it is an industry that depends largely on caregivers, medical service providers, workers with expertise, and other people with specific skills who are not easily replaced by machines. In many industries, the lowest skilled workers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of automation. But in healthcare, many of the lower-skilled, high-job growth positions like an at-home health caregiver, are not impacted by automation.
This doesn’t mean automation isn’t already carving out a role in the healthcare field. Some hospitals use robots to deliver medical supplies and meals; while others use artificial intelligence chat bots to interface with patients. Ultimately, deep learning algorithms will assist with high-end diagnostic work, helping physicians identify diseases more accurately and intervene more quickly. The use of advanced data analysis will also allow medical professionals to create personalized treatments based on each patient’s genome.
Short- and Long-Term Prospects
In the short term, innovative technology will not impact jobs in the healthcare industry. The difficult work of caring and treating people in the healthcare industry will still fall on the shoulders of specialized individuals in the field.
However, this doesn’t mean that serious changes aren’t on the horizon. Although your future bank or grocery store may not look all that different, medical centers are going to be transformed by the emergence of artificial intelligence, automation and other technologies. This means that organizations that make the necessary investments to stay on the vanguard of these changes will benefit the most. In the future, medical facilities will be challenged with the skills and capabilities to flourish in this exciting new environment.
The Bottom Line
Currently, the healthcare industry is booming and insulated from job losses inflicted by automation. But without a doubt, the emergence of artificial intelligence and other technologies will create radical change in how medicine is practiced. By making the necessary investment to stay current with these changes, medical organizations can gain a competitive edge moving forward.
Contact us at Duffy Group, Inc. for more information on the latest recruiting trends in the healthcare industry.