Today’s health care professionals face a variety of new challenges, as well as many exciting opportunities. The industry is changing at a staggering pace, with many shifts prompted by new legislation and technological advances. Students interested in pursuing health care administration careers must be willing not only to keep pace, but also to embrace these changes. Detailed below are a few of the most significant changes and how they have given rise to new health care administration opportunities:
Incentives for preventative care
The previous structure of the health care industry made it very difficult for patients to receive the advance care needed to prevent major health issues. That all has changed, with an increased emphasis on bundled payment programs and flat fees making preventative care more enticing.
More specialty hospitals and clinics
Health care systems are increasingly turning to boutique specialty clinics to offset rising costs in other areas. Many of these clinics specialize in very specific areas of health care, such as endocrinology and sinus care. Diagnostic centers and outpatient surgery centers are also increasingly prevalent. This reliance on specialty practices is just one sign of vertical integration in the health care industry, with vast systems emphasizing coordinated care across specialties.
An aging population
The aging of the Baby Boomer population has prompted quick growth in several areas of health care, including, most notably, oncology and geriatrics. One of the greatest struggles for today’s health care administrators is adapting to this aging population while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Medicare reimbursement caps make fiscal responsibility a real challenge, forcing administrators to find unique ways to offset seemingly insurmountable expenses.
EMRs and the cloud
Electronic medical records are now old hat in the world of health care administration, but the way these records are stored and accessed is quickly changing. Once stored onsite, EMRs are largely being delegated to the cloud. This development has greatly improved accessibility across health care systems, but also resulted in numerous security concerns.
Changes in EMRs involve not only the adoption of cloud technology, but also a greater reliance on mobile devices. Health care professionals enjoy the convenience of accessing and updating patient records onsite via tablet computers. Patients are also increasingly able to turn to mobile apps for medical information. In addition to medical data, many mobile apps include non-medical information regarding insurance coverage and accounts receivable.
From an aging population to a newfound reliance on mobile technology, the health care industry is in the midst of an exciting, yet nerve-racking transformation. Going forward, a successful career in health care will rely on the embracing of new health care technology and a determination to remain up to date with legislative changes.