Healthcare Trends: Interview with Dr. William Riley

Job security and continual growth have been attracting college students and career-changers to the healthcare field for decades. Due to cultural and technological, it’s crucial that job-seekers in the medical industry develop the skills needed to remain competitive. Dr. William Riley of Arizona State University’s School for the Science of Healthcare Delivery answered some questions about recent trends and job opportunities in healthcare.

1.     What are some emerging trends in the healthcare industry?

We are seeing several emerging trends in the health care industry. Since our population is now living longer and living more fulfilling lives, we are seeing a significant and rising demand for alternative health care attention as an emerging trend that shows no sign of slowing down. The reason being that baby boomers are expressing a strong interest in-home health care or alternatives to traditional nursing homes as compared to generations before. Another main trend is emerging as a result of new health care policies and industry reform. We are seeing a growth in the demand for the health care workforce to participate in the  “science”  behind health care delivery, which includes policy, technology and preventative care, among others.

2.     Which healthcare jobs are growing the fastest?

The U.S. Department of Labor’s job growth statistics project that 3.2 million health care positions will be created prior to 2018. This figure includes health care jobs outside of traditional hospitals and government agencies. For example, home health services is one of the fastest-growing careers of 2013 and will continue to see growth in the next few years. Also, the number of private companies and non-profits focused on health care is increasing.

3.     Can you recommend some healthcare careers students may not have considered?

I would encourage health care students to explore career opportunities outside the traditional model. I would suggest that they take a close look at careers that place a premium on a cost-effective health system architecture and focus on career opportunities that are patient centered and results driven. Students should be mindful of fields such as health care delivery, administration and health policy, as a start.

4.    What skills are important for today’s healthcare professionals?

Today’s health care professionals should hone the skills necessary to look critically and holistically at the changing scope of the health care industry, and create new ways, systems and processes to improve health outcomes and lower costs.

5.     Do you have any tips for job-seekers in the healthcare field?

Job-seekers in the health care field should become well versed in the science of health care delivery. Education is key for preparing doctors and health care professionals of the future. Advanced degrees that take a deeper look into the many different facets of the health care system are on the rise. For example, Arizona State University has created a new school for the Science of Health Care Delivery that will begin offering classes this fall providing students with a Master of Science in the Science of Health Care Delivery upon completion of the one year program. Additionally, Dartmouth is offering an advanced degree in this subject matter as well, opting to target current C-level health care executives.