By Tim Teague on Oct 16, 2019 11:00:00 AM
The economy seems to be moving along nicely, but automation, AI and other technological developments have some workers concerned about their future job security. Innovation has certainly affected the world of healthcare staffing, but most of the changes have been positive for medical recruiters. The truth is that longer life expectancy and demographics suggests healthcare recruiters will be in high demand in the decades to come.
Consider the following trends:
Baby Boomer Demographics
Sure, there’s already been much talk about the aging baby boomers in America. This understanding is nothing new and began around the turn of the millennium. However, the predictions are now reality as we approach the 2020s.
The good news for healthcare recruiters is that the soothsayers of twenty years ago proved correct. The influx of aging baby boomers is massive and bodes well for the medical staffing industry. Statistics show that there were nearly 48 million Americans age 65 or over in 2015, and the number is only growing. Conceivably, the majority of these folks will engage the healthcare system at some point and require nursing and other clinical care.
Life Expectancy Continues to Increase
A “perfect storm” scenario, by definition, requires the culmination of multiple factors. It’s never just one event. In the case of America’s healthcare delivery system, the overwhelming demographic of aging baby boomers is compounded by increased longevity. So, baby boomers are essentially joining millions of WWII generation seniors who are living well into their 90s and 100s.
While some of these octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians are surprisingly healthy for their age, many can contribute their longevity to remarkable healthcare and treatments. In other words, they’re alive, but they’re living with chronic conditions that require constant treatment. Therefore, their impact on nursing and clinical resources is extraordinary.
Nursing/Doctor Shortage Projections
The third component of this “perfect storm” is a shortage of nurses and doctors in the United States. The supply of new clinicians simply can’t keep up with demand, and forecasting suggests this trend will continue for decades. Healthcare recruiters benefit from nurse scarcity, as medical companies must seek the assistance of outside services in order to keep up with demand.
Focus on Home-Based Care Increases Nurse Demands
An often-overlooked factor in the study of life expectancy and its effect on healthcare delivery and medical resources is the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care. While CMS has implemented measures to push the latter in order to reduce costs, a side effect is further strain on limited nursing resources.
As the healthcare community works to keep seniors out of the hospital, they are shifting nursing resources toward home-based care. The idea is that proactive monitoring of chronic conditions and improved patient compliance with care plans helps to mitigate the risk of medial episodes and resulting hospitalization. However, these efforts require large teams of nurses to meet with patients in their homes, and healthcare recruiters will stay busy filling the roles.
Ultimately, increasing life expectancies are a positive development for everyone. After all, who doesn’t want to live as long as possible? But aside from the obvious benefits, patient longevity is also good for the healthcare recruiting ecosystem. It ensures ongoing staffing needs that will feed a thriving medical staffing industry for decades to come!