Slideshow: Percent Change in Employment
Healthcare reform, federal funding cuts, a sluggish economy, and new technologies and treatments are accelerating a longstanding trend that has seen healthcare job creation shift away from hospitals and toward outpatient ambulatory care.
Nicole Smith and Artem Gulish, analysts from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said in an email exchange with HealthLeaders Media that ambulatory care employment first outgrew hospital employment in 1995 with the gap widening ever since. For the past 13 years hospital employment has been growing at a slower pace than the overall healthcare sector while ambulatory services has grown at a faster pace than the sector.
"The slow growth in hospital employment and fast growth in ambulatory care services has been the trend in healthcare since the 1990s," say Smith and Gulish, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data. "This trend has been driven by the move away from high-cost, high-risk hospital care and towards more convenient, lower-cost ambulatory care… In recent years this trend has been driven by development of new technologies that have allowed patients who previously required hospital care to be treated in ambulatory setting, such as the use of stents for many people who previously required bypass surgery."