The Effects of Changing Demographics in Healthcare
Due to the increase of diversity in the United States, there is a need for the healthcare industry to promote diversity. Current diversity projections indicate that racial and ethnic minorities will increase drastically and account for approximately half of the population. The minority groups that will have the most growth are the same groups who currently receive low quality healthcare. In 2050, White Americans will make up approximately 50% of the population, Hispanic Americans will make up 24.4%, and African Americans will make up approximately 14.6% of the population (HPDC, n.d).
Research has shown that while the population is becoming more diverse, most minorities hold entry-level positions within healthcare organizations. Many of these jobs fall into the allied health industry. These jobs are the fastest growing; however, the pay and opportunities for advancement are a concern. The workforce in the healthcare industry has increased over the past 10 years. The amount of diversity varied based on the specific occupation and job title (Snyder, Frogner, & Skillman, 2018).
Increasing diversity in the workforce is a benefit to organizations and patients. Increasing diversity helps address disparities
Diversity improves healthcare access for patients with low socioeconomic status.
IMPROVED PATIENT CHOICE
Diversity in the healthcare workforce increases patient satisfaction and patient choice. For instance, according to Health Professionals for Diversity Coalition (HPDC), minority patients are more likely to select providers of the same background as theirs.
Minorities report greater satisfaction with care when they receive health treatment by someone of their same racial or ethnic background (HPDC, n.d.)
Diversity extends beyond race and ethnicity. Diversity also includes age, gender, religious affiliations, and more. For instance, due to the aging workforce, there is going to be an exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce. Approximately 38% of employees aged 50 to 64 plan to work after the age of 65. With the influx of patients in this age group there is going to also be an increase in the demand for healthcare workers as well as an increased need to retain older workers and hire retirees. It has been suggested that for the first time, the workforce will span across four generations: Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Each generation has their own set of characteristics that are specific to their generation. This means that organizations will have to consider and adapt to the needs of the aging population in addition to employees of underrepresented groups (Dickson, 2015).
Dickson, J.J. (2015). Supporting a generationally diverse workforce: Considerations for aging providers in the US healthcare system. Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education, and Policy.
Health Professionals for Diversity Coalition (n.d.) Fact Sheet: The Need for Diversity in the Health Care Workforce.
Snyder, C.R., Frogner, B.K., & Skillman, S.M. (2018). Facilitating Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the health workforce. Journal of Allied Health.