Stemming the rising cost of healthcare has been one of the forces driving Republican lawmakers to repeal and replace the ACA. But critics of repeal efforts have argued that such actions would have resulted in the loss of many thousands of jobs.
Whatever the regulatory outlook for the coming years, the demand for healthcare will continue to rise, which will be a key factor for a market where the services of clinical professionals such as doctors and nurses are projected to be in even shorter supply.
An estimated 82,000 additional physicians will be needed by 2025 to meet the demand, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Healthcare's employment boom though is about more than the supply and demand of clinicians. It involves the expansion of an entire industry due in large part to the explosion of information technology.
As has been seen in other industries, the digital transformation experienced in healthcare has opened doors to a whole crop of new workers to enter a field that was traditionally limited in terms of the variety of career paths it offered.
“For years and years, if you went to pre-med, you sort of had two options coming out of school—you either went the administrative route or you could be a clinician,” said Travis Singleton, senior vice president at physician staffing firm Merritt Hawkins. “If neither one of those tracks jumped out at you, there really wasn't a world in between.”
Singleton said rapid IT advances have created a need among healthcare providers to develop roles that lay outside of the administrative or clinical track.
Healthcare providers have more recently begun to use IT as a means of discovering patients' needs and wants much like how the retail industry has used such analytics to determine customer satisfaction to improve service or products. That has spurred hiring from other industries.
“They're finding that they can teach the healthcare part, but the other part that healthcare doesn't teach, that's what I think is attracting people not just to large health systems but to all parts of healthcare, and that's exciting,” Singleton said.