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Vital Directions from the National Academy of Medicine
October 25, 2016

Workforce for 21st-Century Health and Health Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1BJC HealthCare, St Louis, Missouri
  • 2Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA. 2016;316(16):1665-1666. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.13715

The health and health care workforce in the United States consists of many different kinds of occupations and roles, generally categorized by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as “practitioners, technical, and supporting positions.” With an aging population and more of the population obtaining health insurance coverage, the demand for health care workers is projected to increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2014 and 2024, it is anticipated that the employment of health care jobs will increase 19%, an average growth rate higher than any other occupational segment.1 The size and composition of the US health and health care workforce represent a critical challenge that has been the topic of numerous studies and projections of workforce supply and demand.2,3 However, beyond purely quantitative assessments, it is equally important to examine the roles, relationships, and capabilities of the existing health and health care workforce and how it must evolve to better serve the needs of the US population throughout the 21st century.

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