COVID-19 shifted the healthcare sector, accelerating trends in some cases and requiring healthcare organizations to pivot and adapt quickly. A desire to keep people safe and support social distancing without impacting access to quality care led to a revolutionary uptick in digital care and telemedicine. So much so that these are considered must-have skills for healthcare professionals now. Skills shortages stemming from the impact of the pandemic on frontline workers is another concern in the industry.
But trends in healthcare jobs in 2022 and beyond aren't all solely linked to the pandemic. An aging population, new technology and the ever-present need to balance patient satisfaction with quality care also play roles in driving changes in the industry.
Keeping up with these trends is important for employers who want to find, hire, train and retain top talent. Discover more about five of the most important healthcare job trends below.
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a rise in virtual care and telemedicine
Telemedicine wasn't invented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients were already using it to get quick, convenient consults on a wide variety of situations. But the pandemic did push this healthcare format into the mainstream.
With virtual care and medicine on the rise, healthcare professionals must adapt to providing care over digital platforms. In many cases, this means learning new skill sets, including how to manage apps and technical processes while appropriately assessing patients via video call, phone or even chat.
For employers in the sector, there's a need to consider these new skill requirements when hiring clinical and administrative staff.
technology to secure patient medical records
Patient confidentiality and security of data remains at the forefront of concerns for healthcare organizations. New technology is being developed, adapted and adopted frequently to help support security goals.
For example, blockchain could be used to store medical records, allowing patients to resume ownership of their records and making them portable and accessible by various providers while also ensuring high levels of security.
To support these advancements, healthcare organizations must think about hiring in a holistic way. On top of clinical and administrative staff that can work with these types of solutions, organizations may need technical staff to build, implement and maintain them.
severe skills shortages
Around 26% of businesses in the sector said they expected to experience shortages in 2021. That's almost 7% more than the average for all sectors, demonstrating that healthcare businesses are more worried about labour shortages than other Canadian firms. This is due in part to frontline workers, and particularly nurses, becoming burned out during the pandemic and moving on to other career opportunities or retiring.
In December 2020, more than 40% of support staff such as patient service associates, nurse aids and orderlies were immigrants. Immigration slowdown during the pandemic may have impacted the labour force in these sectors, contributing to the shortage.
For Canadian healthcare organizations, all sides of the skills shortage may call for creative solutions in hiring and managing labour forces. Working with recruiters to support rapid deployment of skilled temporary workers as needed is one solution. Investing in cross-training, healthcare education and support for immigrant labour populations who may not speak Canadian languages fluently are just some of the other solutions healthcare firms may need to consider.
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increasing demands for administrative staff
According to data published by the government, the healthcare industry in Canada is poised to double the total number of bioscience and healthcare companies in the nation by 2025. This doesn't just increase the need for clinical staff.
As patient volumes and demands increase, more support roles are needed to keep track of and schedule appointments, interact with patients and offer administrative and clerical support to overworked and strained healthcare professionals.
As they plan for the future, healthcare organizations must look to front- and back-end office positions, healthcare leadership needs and other behind-the-scenes positions that may need to grow and evolve with the times.
an aging canadian population
Around 72% of Canadian healthcare workers agree that the industry is growing. But with 2.2 million seniors aged 65 to 69 in 2020 — and another 2 million on their heels in the 60 to 64 age bracket, is the country's health sector growing fast enough to care for a rapidly aging population?
At the current rate of staffing in the industry, experts don't think so. The aging population is likely to cause a surge of care needs starting in just a few years, and healthcare staffing is poised to fall short if nothing changes.
Healthcare businesses can step into these trends by planning today. Creating proactive hiring plans and working with recruiting resources to build a sustainable pipeline of qualified professionals can help you address staffing shortages now and head them off in the future.