The Impact of Technology on Healthcare Employment: Automation and New/Shifting Roles

In recent years, the healthcare industry has experienced rapid transformation fueled by technological advancement. From electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine to automation and artificial intelligence (AI), technology is already revolutionizing healthcare.



But how will this reshape the healthcare employment landscape? And is technology the solution to the industry’s growing talent shortage?

According to one recent study, 99% of industry leaders believe that it’s critical to their organizations to actively invest in digital transformation. In fact, 84% say that their workforce is required to use at least some digital health tools.

Needless to say, these innovations are not only reshaping existing health professions, but creating new roles in healthcare. Let’s take a look!


The Changing Landscape for Existing Healthcare Roles           

Here are a few of the ways that technology is likely to alter the roles and responsibilities of existing healthcare professions.

Physicians and Nurses

First of all, no technology can replace the expertise and empathy delivered by healthcare providers. However, what technologies like AI can do is minimize the time they spend on routine administrative tasks like record documentation, which—according to the National Institute of Health—currently devours 35% (more than one-third!) of physicians’ time.

In addition, AI will continue to enhance providers’ diagnostic capabilities and clinical decision-making processes. Similarly, robotic devices—already used by surgeons, particularly in minimally invasive procedures—will be leveraged in increasingly sophisticated ways.

And yes, robots are already in use by some hospital nurses to transport and deliver supplies, cutting down on the 3-5 miles most nurses walk in any given shift. In short, technology may alleviate burnout, while allowing providers to spend more time on direct patient care.

Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians

Automated prescription dispensing systems are becoming more and more common. As a result, pharmacists and technicians may soon be focusing on the oversight and management of these systems, rather than dispensing medications directly, freeing them to spend more time in discussion with patients.  

Radiology Technicians

While fewer than half of radiographers surveyed report using AI today, many expect to do so in the near future. Soon, they may find their roles shifting towards overseeing AI-assisted functions, which may improve workflows and recordkeeping.

Medical Records Technicians

In lieu of paper-based recordkeeping and data entry, medical records technicians will increasingly use technology like AI and automation to manage and organize information, resulting in more accurate, consistent data.

Orderlies, Janitors and Hourly Workers

Some hospitals are already using robots to transport meals and supplies, scrub floors, clean rooms and perform basic tasks in hospital kitchens. Because staffing such hourly positions is an ongoing challenge for many hospitals, automation offers an intriguing solution.


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New Tech-based Roles in Healthcare

In addition to changing existing healthcare roles, the increased adoption of technology will create new professions that combine medical and technological expertise, such as:


Telemedicine Specialists

Telemedicine gained widespread acceptance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it only continues to grow. At some point, healthcare organizations may require specialists to operate their telehealth technologies, ensuring patients and providers can access virtual care easily and reliably.

Healthcare Data Analysts

As the volume of healthcare data grows, so does the need for data analysts to manage and interpret it. Leveraging data in decision-making will allow hospitals to operate more effectively and cost-efficiently, while improving patient outcomes and forging new treatments.

AI and Robotics Technicians

As these technologies are increasingly adopted, healthcare organizations will need skilled technicians to operate, maintain and upgrade them.

Cybersecurity Experts

Healthcare data breaches are already on the rise. Cybersecurity experts are critical to safeguarding sensitive medical information—and as the digitization of healthcare records and systems increases, so will the need to protect patient data.


Technological Advances in HR and Beyond

Beyond patient care and medical innovation, technology enables healthcare organizations to streamline and improve regular business functions, such as billing, procurement, and, especially, human resources.

Advanced HR software eases the administrative burden on chronically inundated HR departments, by digitizing manual tasks, screening resumes, and automating onboarding. Technology can optimize the talent acquisition process—which, in its own way, lessens the healthcare labor shortage.

And when it comes to healthcare relocation for physicians, nurses and other care providers, technology is already revolutionizing the process, with UrbanBound leading the way.

You can learn more about our tech-based relocation solution here. Find out why so many leading healthcare organizations count on us to manage their relocation programs. In some ways, the future is already here!

Human Resources Today