The Evolving Space of Healthcare Opens New Futuristic Career Venues
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From the use of robotic computing in surgeries to the prevalence of data analytics in healthcare to digital diagnostic tools, widespread usage of ICT has contributed to improving outcomes and reducing time and cost of healthcare delivery. On the other hand, increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases has put the spotlight on the need for prevention mechanisms to improve health and wellness. Rising life expectancy is also resulting in an increasingly aging population. These changing dynamics in the healthcare space are spawning new opportunities for work. There has been a surge in demand for IT executives in healthcare in recent years as more and more hospitals adopt digital technologies to improve services and patient experience. At the same time, the rise of the concept of holistic care, integrated medicine and emphasis on improving quality of life of patients has created the need for a new breed of healthcare providers such as nutritionists, rehabilitation experts, therapists, genetic councilors, and homecare providers. A large number of Science graduates are today making careers for themselves in allied healthcare by taking up courses in radiology, nutrition, physiotherapy etc.
Here are some emerging career options in the field of healthcare.
With digital technology becoming the backbone of most fields, no industry can do without the support of IT professionals. Digitizing the system of appointments, online delivery of diagnostic services and creation of digitally enabled services such as ICUs are emerging as top priorities for hospitals today as they work to improve health outcomes and patient experience. Digital systems to monitor and report vital health statistics of people with diabetes and other chronic conditions and the creation of apps and wearable devices for the same are another area where healthcare organizations are investing big time. As hospitals and other healthcare organizations incorporate digital technology into their systems, there will continue to be a surge in demand for IT experts. With greater integration of technology in every domain of healthcare, new specialized career options such as 3D printing specialists are also likely to emerge in the near future.
Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who work with patients suffering from pain or restricted movement on account of injury, stroke, paralysis or surgery. In patients with chronic arthritis, physical therapists help prevent or limit the loss of mobility or range of motion by prescribing required exercises and therapy. These experts are critical to the rehabilitation process of patients with injuries, fractures or bone and joint related surgeries. They play a significant role in helping restore movement, function and quality of life. Physical therapists work in different settings, including hospitals, clinics, in occupational environments as well as homes. They also work closely with athletes to help prevent injuries or restore proper movement in case of an injury.
Today, with increasing emphasis on holistic care the role of physical therapists is closely intertwined with that of physicians. With increasing life expectancy, cases of stroke-induced technicalve been on the rise. At the same time, increasingly sedentary lifestyles are making people vulnerable to orthopedic problems such as backaches. All these factors are resulting in a surging demand for physiotherapists in India. And this demand will continue to peak in the near future as more and more hospitals and wellness centers come up around the country.
Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians
Cardiovascular diseases have today become the leading cause of mortality in India, with the age-standardized CVD death rate of 272 per 100 000 population. Understandably, the role of doctors, cardiologists as well as technical experts who help diagnose and treat these diseases is emerging as a prominent one. Cardiovascular technicians are allied health professionals who work closely with cardiologists to help diagnose and treat heart diseases. They help to conduct ECGs, prepare patients for angioplasties and cardiac catheterizations while closely monitoring their vital statistics such as heart rate and blood pressure during the procedures. In a nutshell, they work as technical assistants to cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and play a very crucial role in the healthcare cog. With the increasing use of advanced diagnostic technology in the field of cardiology, the demand for cardiovascular technologists is increasing by the day.
Medical Imaging Technicians
The world of medical diagnostics is today a parallel field in medicine that plays a vital role in ensuring successful treatment. The use of medical imaging technology such as X Rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI etc has increased significantly in recent years with a greater emphasis on evidence-based medicine even as improvement in digital imaging technology is allowing diagnosis with greater precision. Understandably, the field of radiology and medical imaging is witnessing a rapid surge with increasing demand for proficient and well-qualified technicians. Radiographers and imaging technicians are equipped with the technological skills to handle imaging equipment and the interpersonal skills necessary for patient care. They work in hospitals as well as private diagnostic facilities which have mushroomed across the urban landscape.
Rising incidence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular diseases has in recent years put special focus on the need to adopt healthy lifestyles and eating habits. Making healthy lifestyle choices includes consuming a healthy balance of nutrition rich foods and increasing physical activity is critical to preventing and managing chronic diseases and lifestyle disorders. Doctors are increasingly referring patients to nutrition experts who can help make the right food choices and prevent chronic diseases while managing existing conditions. Nutritionists help patients with diabetes, heart diseases or obesity and help them achieve their health goals by charting out the right diets and nutrition aids for them. They help plan and oversee nutrition programs and educate people on how to prevent and treat disease through good nutrition and dietary alterations. Nutritionists also help athletes and fitness enthusiasts to achieve healthy and toned bodies. With rising awareness about fitness and the need to eat healthily, the demand for services of nutritionists is expected to increase.
Health Data Scientists
Data scientists or data analysts are professionals and their demand has surged in recent years; thanks to the rise of digital footfall based industries such as e-commerce. Data analysts are essentially tasked with the objective of pulling out meaningful information from a sea of random data. In the field of healthcare, data scientists are increasingly becoming relevant. With an increasing number of hospitals working to maintain at least some form of electronic health records and wearable devices that collect health data from thousands of users becoming common, we will soon find ourselves sitting on piles of random meaningless figures. Using programming and coding skills to analyze this data and derive valuable insights from it can be very useful for improving health outcomes. Insights collected from healthcare data analytics can help increase the accuracy and efficiency of diagnostics as well as help improve epidemiological understanding of diseases.
In the near future, health data scientists and deep learning experts will play a significant role in leveraging data and making sense of it for the larger public good.