How will the massive chronic care needs of the elderly create new career opportunities? 

  So what do you think the job market for healthcare professionals will look like 5 or 10 years from now?

While the US healthcare system represents around $3 trillion in annual spending and is the largest single sector of the overall economy, it also sits inside larger “macro trends” that help define the landscape of jobs.

For example, such factors as globalization, the frantic pace of innovative handheld and genomic technology (like the iPhone 6 and mapping the human genome project), 78 million Americans all hitting old age (and higher healthcare utilization) at the same time, and radically changing values and beliefs are all working together to create a larger “context” for new jobs in the healthcare system.

So what difference do all these big changes mean to us?  The answer is both obvious and complicated. I will answer the obvious part and leave the complicated part to you to discuss.

The obvious answer is that these big changes are changing the way we live our lives. Just think that it wasn’t that long ago that classes on the internet like ours didn’t exist. And now, we just sort of assume, without even thinking about it, that such classes are perfectly normal.

So the obvious part is that such factors as globalization, technology, the aging of our society, and changing cultural values are all working together to change pretty well everything that used to be – into something else.

The hard part – and the part you need to think about – is what do all the changes really mean to the careers of healthcare professionals?

If we think that healthcare professionals will continue to do exactly what they are doing now over the next ten years then we are not paying attention to how much the work world has already changed from the way it worked ten years ago.

How will smart phones create new jobs in healthcare?

Will genomic research eliminate certain diseases by modifying DNA?  What issues are raised by DNA manipulation?

How will the massive chronic care needs of the elderly create new career opportunities?

How will healthcare systems evolve to best leverage a global market for their services?

What new jobs may be created to best meet new consumer demands for more patient-focused care? Less institutionalization of the elderly? And better access to culturally appropriate care givers?

So what do you think? What’s the job market likely to look like for you in ten or so years?