Allied health care includes professionals – excluding doctors, nurses, dentists, and podiatrists – serving in medical facilities and occupations. The majority of healthcare workers serve in the 85 different professions identified as allied health. According to a University of California study, about 60% (8.4 million jobs) of all healthcare workers are in allied health professions, and this number continues to grow.
Reasons for the Growth of Allied Health Care
- The aging baby boomer population – The eighty million seniors referred to as the baby boomer generation are beginning to reach retirement age. This is influencing allied healthcare by creating many openings in the industry. Additionally, baby boomers will need more health care as they age.
- Increased longevity – Due to the improved quality of medical care, seniors are expected to live longer. This leads to an increased need for allied healthcare workers.
- Shortage of doctors and nurses – In the next fifteen years, we will see a shortage of doctors and nurses, driving a need for more allied health professionals to provide necessary specialized services.
- Advances in technology – Modern medical care is far more advanced than in the past. Now there is a demand for specialization in every health care field. Additionally, as new methodologies and equipment improve medical care; specialized positions will continue to be added.
- National emphasis on the importance on wellness and need to reduce high obesity rate – As the United States pursues preventative and corrective measures to make our population healthier, more allied healthcare professionals, such as nutritionists, will be needed.
Some Allied Health Careers Experiencing Growth
As mentioned previously, there are 85 different professions identified as allied health. Allied health workers work in many different kinds of medical facilities. Some work in doctor’s offices, others in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and their own offices. All areas of allied health continue to need additional workers. The following are some professions experiencing some of the greatest growth:
Audiologists – Work with those with hearing disabilities and diagnose hearing problems. Expected increase by 2020 – 37%.
Healthcare managers – Serve as administrators and managers of medical facilities and departments. Expected increase by 2020 – 22%.
Medical Assistants – Assist in physician offices. Expected increase by 2020 – 31%.
Medical record and health information technicians (health informatics) – Manage patient medical records. Expected increase by 2020 – 21%.
Physical Therapists – Work to help patients with improving physical capabilities after an accident, heart attack, or stroke and improve and extend physical abilities for the elderly. Expected increase by 2020 – 39%.
When allied health professionals work with patients, they encounter risks. Something can always go wrong and even small mistakes can cause a big problem. One type of common lawsuits brought against allied health providers involves negligence in performing professional duties; the healthcare provider fails to perform according to established professional standards.
At Highland Risk Services, our comprehensive insurance program for allied health care service providers is offered exclusively through our agents and includes coverage for professional liability, general liability, employee liability, sexual misconduct, commercial property, business auto, workers compensation, as well as other key coverage. Call us at one of our two offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 or Phoenix office at 847-832-9099.