Digital Diagnosis: How Healthcare Careers Are Disappearing Today


Although recent trends suggest that many current healthcare careers will continue to experience job growth over the next few years, the following positions have been reduced in number or have even been completely phased out in certain geographic areas and hospital systems. You can still find some of these jobs as filled and open positions in small, independent and remote facilities, such as single physician, independent group and rural practices, nursing homes, and urgent care clinics:

  • Accountants and bookkeepers
  • Billing clerks and collectors
  • Data entry clerks and typists
  • Medical records clerks
  • Switchboard operators and receptionists
  • Semi-skilled, entry-level and mid-level workers

The following are the three top reasons for this transition away from the above positions and what is changing in these jobs today.

Digital Diagnosis How Healthcare Careers are Disappearing TodayEducation Requirement Changes

Semi-skilled workers and people in entry-level and mid-level positions who don’t have at least a bachelor’s degree are more likely now to lose their jobs than those who have degrees. For example, many healthcare systems now require that licensed nurse practitioners and registered nurses have bachelor’s degrees. Consolidation of duties, increasing dependence on computers, and advancements in technologies and treatments have prompted these changes. Even things like radiology online schools and certification degree options are popping up to help make workers more qualified for jobs, and to help train them for technology changes in the field.

Consolidation of Duties

In health care, a lot of the work responsibilities for the above positions have been added to other positions, realigned with new roles or outsourced. For example, many healthcare systems have decided to outsource collection duties for past due bills previously handled by billing clerks to collection agencies that have more efficient collection processes and staff available at lower costs. More and more automated processes make some accounting, HR and other jobs obsolete today.

Medical Technology Advancements

Advancements in medical technologies related to every aspect of healthcare are the biggest cause of reductions and phase-outs. Electronic medical records programs make medical record clerks whose primary job is medical records management and dispersal no longer necessary. Doctors and support staff now fulfill the duties of data entry clerks and typists. Billing and tax programs accurately track and report the information previously managed by bookkeepers, accountants, and clerks. Complex phone tree systems with menus have taken over switchboard duties. Lastly, fewer receptionists are needed because one or two front office staff members can handle first appointment check-ins and field patient questions while cutting edge hardware and software make it possible for patients to check themselves in for follow-up appointments and diagnostics tests.

If you’re trying to find a position in healthcare, consider a degree in growth areas, such as technical positions in radiology and IT support and nursing positions. Experts also anticipate new high demand roles in care coordination as well. Look for positions that are stable and require new technology as part of them as well.

"Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan."

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