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Expert Help Needed to Cope with Rising Demand for Allied Professionals

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By Jeff Decker, AMN Healthcare Division President, Allied

J.Decker Jan BlogIn the Allied Staffing division at AMN Healthcare, we see supply and demand challenges every day for therapists, technologists, technicians and other allied health professionals. But in the last year, we’ve seen a marked increase in demand – and not enough supply to cover that need. Our concern is that this problem could get worse for years before it gets better. New employment projections released in December from the Bureau of Labor Statistics bear out our concerns.

Though the BLS projections do not include estimates on supply, such as education and training program graduates, they do provide job opening projections for 2014-2024 that are pretty startling:

  • For therapists of all kinds, job openings due to growth and replacement needs from 2014-2024 will be 311,200. For physical therapists alone, there will be 128,300 job openings, 63,100 for speech-language pathologists and 43,300 for respiratory therapists.
  • For all health technologists and technicians, there will be 1,040,400 job openings, including 130,500 for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians and 117,300 for diagnostic-related technologists and technicians.
  • For pharmacists, job openings will total 78,400.

Physical therapist will be one of the fastest growing occupations from 2014-2024 at a percent growth of 34%. Audiologist will grow 29% and occupational therapists and diagnostic medical sonographer will grow nearly 27% over that same time period.

The growth in demand for allied healthcare professionals is driven by the growth in the industries that employ them. According to the BLS projections, home healthcare services, outpatient care centers, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and nursing and residential care facilities will be among the fastest growing of all industries throughout the country.

Healthcare facilities and agencies that employ allied healthcare professionals generally do not have the necessary expertise and capacity to cope with long-term and complex problems of clinician shortages. So, they may experience increasing challenges in finding enough quality clinicians to meet their patient-care needs.

The solution will be to look outside their own walls for help. Partnerships between healthcare providers and healthcare workforce experts like AMN Healthcare can help overcome the impact of clinician supply shortages, because we have the expertise, technology and nationwide reach for the most skilled sourcing and recruitment.

In addition to finding the quality clinicians that healthcare providers need, it’s increasingly important for providers to optimize and improve the management of their staffs. AMN Workforce Solutions offer a comprehensive suite of innovative solutions, including managed services and analytics, which can accurately predict future staffing needs. AMN consults with health systems to help facilities operate more efficiently and manage workforce shortages. Managed services can reduce hiring costs and save hospitals and other clients up to 20%.

A managed services program, or MSP, is a good option. MSP is a workforce solution that streamlines the management of vendors and contracts, providing a single point of contact for all workforce processes related to them.

Without staffing and management help in dealing with the growing shortages of allied professionals, healthcare facilities may not have an adequate workforce, resulting in delayed appointments and patients referred elsewhere. That can result in lost revenue, lost goodwill and a loss of trust in the community -- and possibly losing a patient forever.

The good news is that there are tremendous job opportunities in the healthcare industry, a situation that will continue for many years to come. The challenge is that there may be many more job openings than job hires. When it comes to hiring the quality clinicians that they need, healthcare providers are going to find that they can’t do it alone. They are going to need help. Fortunately for them, the healthcare workforce experts are ready.

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