People who are good at science and who enjoy helping others often choose to enter a healthcare profession. The medical field is always changing and growing with new technologies and the differing needs of the population.
For example, in 2020 the emerging COVID-19 pandemic greatly changed the way that professionals delivered healthcare to patients. Here are four trends that workers are seeing in the healthcare field.
- Focus on Care for Older People
As the large population of baby boomers begins to enter their 60s and 70s, medical care is becoming increasingly focused on the needs of these older adults. Since older people tend to use healthcare services more than the population overall, healthcare professionals need to be able to identify and treat conditions that disproportionately affect older populations, such as heart disease and certain cancers. People today are living longer than ever before, and they want to continue to have a good quality of life well into their later years.
- Demand for Medical Assistants
The demand for medical assistants is projected to keep growing, mostly in response to the increasingly aging population of the United States. Compared to becoming a physician, the amount of time required to become a medical assistant is quite low, and there are plenty of online resources like EDsmart to help people decide where to pursue their medical assistant education. This can be a wonderful occupation choice for those who enjoy working with and helping people but who do not have the time, resources, or desire to go through years of medical school. Medical assistants perform essential duties alongside doctors and nurses and make around $37,000 per year on average.
- Greater Emphasis on Public Health
With more contagious diseases developing each year, there is a trend in healthcare to put a greater emphasis on public health to help prevent the spread of these illnesses. The field of public health focuses on things such as health education, biostatistics, and epidemiology, which is the study of disease distribution. Controlling the spread of contagious diseases helps ensure that the healthcare system and its workers do not become overwhelmed.
- Helping Those With Opioid and Other Addictions
Opioids are substances that can be prescribed by a doctor, such as painkillers prescribed after surgery. Opioids can also be taken without the knowledge and supervision of a healthcare professional, for example in the case of heroin use. Unfortunately, even prescription opioids can lead to an addiction to the substance and the United States is seeing an increase in the number of people with opioid dependence. In fact, the number of overdoses that hospitals are seeing is to the point of an opioid overdose epidemic in the country. Healthcare facilities need to know how to help those going through opioid withdrawal safely come off and stay off the drug.
Medical professionals, including medical assistants, must be able to change and adapt to the needs of the population. While these four trends may continue for a few years, different concerns will eventually come along.