Jobs, jobs and jobs. Politicians and news outlets talk and write a lot about jobs.
The creation of it, the loss of jobs, and how they want to create more in agriculture, in IT, in logistics and even in coal mining (somebody pinch me please). News items, policy makers, governments air statements about the ambition to boost jobs in steel, agriculture, logistics, technology are great ánd needed.
The other day, however, a small youtube video struck me. The CEO of Siemens Healthineers AG Bernd Sontag during his opening address (in German) of a conference talked about how strange it is that there is so much talk about all the industries mentioned above, and so little about the healthcare sector while in Germany the healthcare sector is as big as an employer as the whole German automotive industry together.
Although I’m aware of how big the healthcare sector is and I’m always trying to get this point across to the Dutch Provinces – when they say they don’t have any formal role in healthcare anymore I like to point them out to the economic value and employability aspect of healthcare. In the U.S., healthcare became the biggest employer.
We all know healthcare costs are on the rise, demand is doubling so we have to come up with smart tooling like Digital Health.
Knowing the huge shortages in the workforce for healthcare, we really should take good care and attention to make healthcare a ‘sexy’ place to work again. With all the sentiment (including the press) of the past years about healthcare in budget cuts, long hours, high administrative burden and a lot of stress, youngsters choosing for healthcare as a career might decrease at an exponential pace.
First of all, we need to be mindful of the problems and solve them not only with a lens dominated by economics as costs but also with a lens of employability and long term thinking of having a sustainable workforce. Sadly, in all the debates on the change and innovation of health(care), although nurses are -hands down- in the majority, they almost never get to sit at the tables that decide about their work and roles. Given they also have the fastest growing job outlook (+15% > 2026) something that really has to change.
So taking care of the healthcare workforce, will also take care of ourselves once we are in need of healthcare, and will keep driving society also from an economic standpoint of view.
I’m not advocating for a lot more money, but to cherish the current and future workforce in healthcare.
It is at the intersection of technology and patient empowerment, which is where Lucien Engelen (1962), director of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre REshape Center and advisor to the Board of Directors (since 2007) feels most at home. The two worlds combined into the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre and Singularity University in Silicon Valley & the Netherlands and in the Nordics, his modus operandi is always challenging, sometimes provocative but always techno-realistic. Writing on a new book that will be titled "Augmented Health(care)™ : The end of the beginning" (May 2018, Barcelone Spain) as he thinks we're at the end of an era of creating awareness, pilots, proof of concepts etc in the digital transformation of health(care). More on that on, his Linkedin Page has over 750.000 followers. He is Faculty Global Health(care) & Medecine since 2011 at Singularity University's Exponential Medicine in the US and in the Netherlands.