Keeping up with recent developments in the healthcare industry can give you an edge in your field and help you protect your healthcare job. Whether you’re a physician, nurse, advanced practitioner or allied health professional, it’s wise to consider the latest industry news and predictions when planning your next career moves. Here are some 2023 trends and 2024 predictions that can help you find success in your healthcare career.
Trend #1: Costs of healthcare will increase in 2024.
Care costs are expected to increase by an estimated 7% in 2024, according to PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC). PwC predicts the causes of higher costs will be high inflation, costs of new drugs and gene therapies, workforce shortages and rising wages. They believe providers will continue to seek higher wages to compensate for burnout, costs of living, and increased patient demand. However, hospitals' profit margins will continue to drop, making it harder to meet compensation demands.
Possible career impacts: You may find negotiating for higher pay is more difficult.
Because healthcare organizations have less to work with, you may find that it’s harder to negotiate for higher compensation. Employers may have less wiggle room since margins are tight. However, it’s always worth trying or continuing your search if you’re unsatisfied with your offer. A skilled recruiter can help!
Trend #2: Increased costs may keep certain provider segments from expanding.
Due to cost increases, provider segment growth will be limited, according to McKinsey. In 2022, McKinsey forecasted that provider profit pools (earnings an organization generates from its providers) would grow 7% from 2021-2025. McKinsey now projects that provider profit pools will grow by only 3% from 2021-2026 due to increased costs. This means the earnings/profits providers generate will be much less and translate to reduced segment growth.
- The highest growth areas are expected to be virtual home health and virtual office visits (>10%).
- The next highest growth areas are expected to be virtual urgent care, ambulatory surgery centers, specialist physicians, retail clinics and onsite clinics (5-10%).
- Lower growth is predicted in general acute care, primary care physicians, psychiatric, urgent care centers, dialysis clinics, home health, assisted living facilities, hospice, and imaging centers (0-5%).
- Negative growth is expected for independent labs, skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation facilities (<0%).
Possible career impacts: You may find unique opportunities in higher growth segments and limited opportunities in lower growth areas.
If you’re just emerging from your program or residency or you are interested in changing your work setting, consider pursuing jobs in virtual home health, virtual urgent care, ambulatory surgery centers, retail clinics and specialized services. You may find there aren’t as many open positions in skilled nursing facilities, inpatient rehab and independent labs. Keeping an open mind and exploring your options with the help of a recruiter might open opportunities you hadn’t considered.
Trend #3: Telehealth is in demand.
Telehealth is here to stay. Demand for virtual healthcare services varies depending on specialty. The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) survey, published in 2023, reported that the following percentages of responding PAs participated in telemedicine (top 5 specialties):
- Psychiatry 73.3%
- Family medicine 60.9%
- Primary care 59.8%
- Internal medicine 58.6%
- Pain medicine 56.1%
Possible career impacts: Having experience and being open to telehealth can open doors.
If you have telehealth experience, highlight that on your CV or resume. Employers seek candidates who can quickly adopt various digital platforms, including telehealth technology. If you don’t yet have telemedicine experience, consider enrolling in online training, professional development, or CME workshops in telehealth best practices. Remember, you may see more opportunities for telehealth in psychiatry, family medicine, primary care, internal medicine and pain medicine. If you’re interested specifically in telehealth, a skilled, experienced recruiter can help.
Trend #4: CMS has prioritized advancing health equity and improving outcomes. This initiative should be felt across the industry.
The new framework of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services aims “to further advance health equity, expand coverage, and improve health outcomes for the more than 170 million individuals supported by CMS programs” (CMS). CMS’s Five Health Equity Priorities for Reducing Disparities in Health are to:
- Expand the collection, reporting, and analysis of standardized data
- Assess causes of disparities within CMS programs and address inequities in policies and operations to close gaps
- Build capacity of health care organizations and the workforce to reduce health and health care disparities
- Advance language access, health literacy, and the provision of culturally tailored services
- Increase all forms of accessibility to health care services and coverage
Possible career impacts: Your efforts to make a difference in patients’ lives may be supported, aligned with and valued more by facilities.
As CMS prioritizes health equity, facilities will be increasingly concerned about meeting these initiatives if they aren’t already. Employers will want to know how much you personally and professionally care about advancing health equity and improving patient outcomes. If you speak multiple languages, make that known. If you deeply understand social determinants of health, food deserts, and health disparities, share that information. If you have specialized skills, background or expertise in increasing cultural competence, diversity, or health equity, highlight it on your CV, discuss it during interviews, and let employers know where you stand.
Trend #5: Burnout continues to be a threat.
Statistics show providers are continuing to battle burnout. Some specialties report higher levels of burnout than others. According to the 2023 NCCPA study, providers in the following specialties were the most likely to report feeling burned out:
- Emergency medicine
- Critical care medicine
- Hospital medicine
PAs in the following specialties were least likely to feel burned out:
- Physical medicine/rehabilitation
- Plastic surgery
Possible career impacts: If you’re prone to burnout, consider a lower-stress specialty. If you’re locked into a high-pressure field, be mindful of self-care.
If you’re just embarking on your career, consider choosing a specialty that’s associated with lower stress, like dermatology or otolaryngology. If you’re already in a high-stress setting, consider how you can improve your work-life balance and lower your stress level. If you’re working in a fast-paced hospital, could you move to a slower-paced private practice? If you’re a night owl, would it be less stressful to work as a nocturnist? If you’re full time, could it help to switch to part time or locums? Talk with a recruiter to explore your options.
Healthcare industry trends should be just one of many factors you use to inform your career decisions. As you plan the next steps in your career, consider how your path will align with the trajectory of the industry.
We’re here to help and excited to hear about where you want to go next!