The growing global demand for allied health professionals comes at a time when the baby boomer generation enters its golden years, when people in this age group will need additional medical services and allied health professionals to provide those services.
By 2029, all baby boomers will be over the age of 65 and make up 20 percent of the entire U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That will be over 65 million baby boomers who will need health care services from many different allied health professionals.
What are Allied Health Professionals?
Allied health professionals have training and expertise that complements physicians’ overall responsibility for quality of care, according to the American Medical Association. The allied health professional shares the commitment to patient well-being.
What Are Some of the Growing Positions in Allied Health?
Among the many allied health professions, there are positions that are growing according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those allied health positions include medical assistant, medical office administrator, medical biller, radiologic technician, and diagnostic medical sonography technician.
Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means a growing need for entry-level medical assistants.
New innovations in medicine and technology have contributed to a longer life span. The aging baby boomer population, along with a longer life span, means more patients to assist and more medical assistants to manage those patients.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
Medical assistants perform complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and other health care facilities. Medical assistants typically do the following.
- Record patient histories and personal information
- Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and respiration rate
- Manage patient complaints as a patient advocate
- Assist physicians with patient examinations
- Schedule patient appointments and answer telephones
- Process bills and claims
- Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
- Enter patient information in electronic medical records
- Handle medical supply inventories and maintain surgical instruments
- Manage diagnostic testing equipment, such as EKGs
Medical Office Administrator
Demand for medical office administrative assistants, like medical assistants, is projected to grow in the next 10 years. The growing global population and advances in technology mean a growing demand for medical office administrative assistants.
These medical office administrative assistants can free up physicians, medical assistants, and nurses to focus on patient care without worrying about the administrative tasks of a health care facility.
What Do Medical Office Administrative Assistants Do?
Medical office administrative assistants assist allied health care workers and perform clerical and secretarial duties using specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties may include the following.
- Greet patients as they enter the health care facility
- Schedule appointments and answer telephones
- Manage billing for patients and insurance claims
- Compile and record data in medical charts
- Create medical reports for professional review
- Write correspondence
Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Employment of medical billing and coding specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The use of electronic medical records (EMRs) by all types of health care providers will lead to an increased need for allied health professionals to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the health care industry.
What Do Medical Billing and Coding Specialists Do?
As part of the allied health care team, medical billers are responsible for maintaining the quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security of patient records. Medical billers typically do the following.
- Review patient accounts for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
- Manage accounts receivable
- Process insurance claims and bills
- Procure patient statements and manage patient billing
- Use classification software to assign clinical codes for insurance reimbursement and data analysis
- Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
- Maintain confidentiality of patient records
Employment of radiologic technologists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As the baby boomer generation grows older and technology extends people’s life spans, there is a growing need to diagnose and treat different medical conditions that will require the use of imaging equipment. This creates a need for highly trained radiologic technologists.
What Does a Radiologic Technologist Do?
Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging examinations, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. These allied health professionals may specialize in a specific imaging technique including bone densitometry, cardiovascular-interventional radiography, mammography, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Radiologic technologists typically do the following.
- Adjust and maintain imaging, mammography, and x-ray equipment
- Precisely follow orders from physicians on what areas of the body to image
- Prepare patients for diagnostic imaging examinations, including taking medical histories and answering questions about procedures
- Protect the patient by shielding exposed areas that do not need to be imaged with lead aprons
- Position the patient and the imaging equipment in order to get the correct image
- Operate the computerized equipment that takes the images
- Work with physicians to evaluate the x-rays and images and to determine whether additional images need to be taken
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Employment of diagnostic medical sonographers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase in population and demand for technology that can improve patients’ health and well-being will fuel the growing demand for diagnostic medical sonographers.
What Do Diagnostic Medical Sonographers Do?
A diagnostic medical sonographer is a person who uses ultrasound equipment to acquire and analyze images and information for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. This allied health professional helps doctors diagnose and monitor a variety of conditions such as heart disease, pregnancy, and cancer.
Diagnostic medical sonographers work closely with physicians and surgeons before, during, and after procedures. Diagnostic medical sonographers typically do the following.
- Prepare patients for procedures and comfort those patients so they stay still during diagnostics
- Prepare and maintain sonographic diagnostic imaging equipment
- Operate equipment to obtain diagnostic images or to conduct tests
- Review images or test results to check for quality and adequate coverage of the areas needed for diagnoses
- Recognize the difference between normal and abnormal images
- Analyze diagnostic information to provide a summary of findings for physicians
- Record findings and keep track of patients’ records
What Is Diagnostic Sonography?
Diagnostic sonography uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of a patient’s body. The diagnostic medical sonographer uses an ultrasound transducer to scan parts of the patient’s body that are being examined. The transducer emits pulses of sound that bounce back, causing echoes. The echoes are then sent to an ultrasound machine, which processes them and displays them as images used by physicians for diagnosis.
Ready to Get a Diploma in an Allied Health Program?
Hunter Business School offers allied health diploma programs in Medical Assistant, Medical Office Administration, Medical Billing and Coding, Radiologic Technology, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
Some of these allied health diploma programs can be completed in as little as 3 months or as long as 23 months, depending on the program offered. These allied health diploma programs prepare students for entry-level positions in physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and other health care facilities that are employing the growing number of allied health professionals.
Hunter Business School’s newest allied health program is the Radiologic Technology program offered at the Levittown campus. Students can become a radiologic technologist in 16 months and be prepared to pass The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists® exam to become licensed in New York State.
This allied health program begins by introducing Radiologic Technology students to the fundamentals of radiologic technology. Anatomy and physiology, radiographic positioning, and an immediate introduction to the clinical arena set the foundation for the program.
Patient care, radiation protection, and image analysis are incorporated into the overall educational experience. Comprehensive clinical experiences are offered to supplement Radiologic Technology classroom discussions.
Contact us today to find out more about how to become an allied health professional on Long Island.