Allied Health Professionals - The Next Major Health Workforce
As a national insurance wholesaler for agents who serve allied health facilities, it is important that you understand the allied health field. One of the unique challenges faced by allied health facilities is significant and continuing growth.
Lead health professional of Public Health England, Linda Hindle, noted that allied health professionals might be the next major public health workforce in England, with more than 80,000 workers in private, government, education, and voluntary work. The growth has been significant in the United States as well, with more than 5 million workers providing 60% of the health care workforce in more than 80 different allied health professions. In addition, the number of US allied health professionals is expected to increase from 15-20% by the year 2020 according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.
Much of this growth is directly related to the growth in elder care. Allied health professionals are at the forefront of providing care to seniors in our society.
Reasons for This Growth
- Baby Boomer Population
The United States currently has a baby boomer population of 80 million. As is to be expected, these individuals require more health care. In addition, these senior citizens are also seeking less expensive care.
Many of the individuals who work in the allied health field are also reaching retirement age. This means there will be many openings to be filled in this industry, adding to the increase in personnel.
- More Technology
As technology advances, there is a need for allied health professionals trained to use this sophisticated equipment. Additionally, the increased use of electronic medical records by physicians requires technological knowledge provided by allied health professionals.
- Convenience and Cost Saving
Allied health provides convenience and cost saving for patients utilizing their services. Wait times for treatment and procedures are frequently shorter. Allied health locations may be closer and easier to access than hospitals and larger treatment locations. Many seniors prefer allied health care providers and this is resulting in additional growth.
In the future, preventive medicine will be more important than it has ever been before, as prevention is more cost effective than treatment. This increases the need for allied health personnel who serve at the forefront of preventive medicine.
In addition, allied health care workers have roles at every stage of healthcare treatment, from diagnosis to treatment. Therefore, they can have a unique impact on creating positive change. By its very nature, healthcare is constantly evolving and improving. Advancements in healthcare means not only more specialized caretakers, but also expanding fields, both of which often falls to allied health professionals.
Allied health professionals are at the forefront of these changes. How the medical community meets the challenge of these changes will depend largely upon the skills and commitment of the allied healthcare workforce.
The expansion of the allied health care industry is inevitable, even in light of current poor economic conditions. This growth presents new challenges and opportunities for the brokers and the agencies they serve. At Highland Risk Services, we are aware of these opportunities and challenges and are ready to help with the insurance needs for your allied health facility clients. Please contact us by calling one of our offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 or Phoenix at 847-832-9099.