You’ve heard it before: People are living longer. Thanks to advances in technology and medicine, our longevity – and quality of life – have increased. According to a study published in The Lancet, an international medical journal, it is projected that global life expectancy will increase an average of 4.4 years by 2040. And, 59 countries are predicted to have a life expectancy of at least 80 years old by then.
This means the healthcare workforce should expect to see an increase in demand for their services. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2018,” lists the No. 1 trend driving health industry growth is “increasingly ageing societies.” Other economic and technology factors, like advances in artificial intelligence (AI), expansion of affluence in developing economies, expansion of the middle class and increasing adoption of new technology round out the top five trends driving healthcare industry growth.
The top 10 technologies the health industry is adopting are as follows:
- User and entity big data analytics (87% of companies surveyed)
- Biotechnology (87%)
- Machine learning (80%)
- App- and web-enabled markets (80%)
- Wearable electronics (73%)
- Cloud computing (73%)
- Internet of things (67%)
- Encryption (67%)
- Distributed ledger (blockchain) (67%)
- Augmented and virtual reality (67%)
Barriers to adopting new technologies include not understanding opportunities (80% of companies surveyed), skills gaps in leadership (73 %) and skills gaps in the local labor market (60%).
Projected adaption partners are reported equally as being professional services firms (93% of companies surveyed) and specialized departments in the firm (93%).
The expected impact of the trends putting pressure on the health industry overwhelmingly show modifications of locations of operation (73% of companies surveyed) and modifications to the value chain (67%).
In terms of the impact on the healthcare workforce, interestingly, 47% of companies expect a reduction in their healthcare workforce due to automation and 20% expect to expand their workforce due to automation. Twenty-seven percent report they’ll expand their healthcare workforce in general (not necessarily due to automation) and 33% report they plan to expand task-specialized contractors.
The biggest augmentation of key job tasks by 2022 will be in performing complex and technical activities. In 2018, machines were completing 26% of the task hours associated with these functions; by 2022, it’s expected to increase to 39%.
Roles expected to emerge in the health industry through 2022 include:
- Data analysts and scientists
- Biologists and geneticists
- AI and machine learning specialists
- Information technology services
- Environmental and occupational health and hygiene professionals
- Big data specialists
- Administrative and executive secretaries
- Supply chain and logistics specialists
- Specialist medical practitioners
Roles declining in the healthcare industry through 2022 include:
- Data entry clerks
- Assembly and factory workers
- Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products
- Postal service clerks
- Electronics and telecommunications installers and repairers
- Client information and customer service workers
- Business services and administration managers
- Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
- Accountants and auditors
- Traditional and complementary medicine professionals