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Healthcare Job Growth Cools Slightly

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 10, 2012

In most sectors of the economy new technology reduces job growth and lowers costs. For better or worse, robots on the assembly line means fewer jobs for humans and labor cost savings. That logic doesn't necessarily apply to healthcare.

The advent of electronic medical records, for example, has led to a huge demand for thousands of technicians who can design, install, and operate these highly complex computer systems. The newest imaging equipment also requires highly skilled operators with clinical and technological expertise.

Technology will probably save money by reducing waste, fraud, misdiagnoses, and abuse. But it will not come cheap, and the savings may not be readily apparent for years.

This steady hiring in healthcare continues even as there is near universal agreement that very soon the healthcare sector will be required to provide more care for less money. Medicare and Medicaid are cutting reimbursements and increasingly linking the value of payments to quality outcomes. Commercial plans are following the government's leads and are taking a hard line against cost shifting.  

There are signs that the healthcare job growth may already be slowing.

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