Emerging Roles and Occupations in the Health Workforce



  • Abstract

    Systematically quantifying and tracking the evolution of the health workforce is a challenge, yet is important for identifying emerging demands for different skills and competencies. Real Time Labor Market Information (RT-LMI), a source of data that is increasingly used to monitor workforce demand, extracts information from online job ads to track demand for general labor market skills, including for the health workforce. The purpose of this study is to identify how five domains of emerging roles in healthcare have been incorporated into the job titles and descriptions of healthcare occupations by using RT-LMI data from LinkUp, a job search engine company. The key findings from this study are:

    • “Care coordination” was the most common emerging role appearing in healthcare job ads, either in the job title or job description, in both 2014 and 2015, and “disease management” and “patient education” were more frequently mentioned in 2015 compared to 2014.
    • Physical therapists, social workers, nursing assistants and medical assistants were among the allied health occupations mentioned in job ads in which emerging roles appeared.
    • Care coordination was a dominant emerging role for occupations across all education requirement categories in the job ads examined, and disease management became a more frequently requested emerging role between 2014 and 2015.
    • Jobs requiring a high school degree or below rarely referenced an emerging role (2.0% in 2014 and 3.5% in 2015) despite the relatively high frequency of job ads for healthcare jobs at this education level.
    • Often, where an emerging role was identified in the job title, no other specific healthcare occupation was identified within either the job title or job description, suggesting that these occupations may be becoming stand-alone healthcare occupations.

    In this study we found that RT-LMI can provide valuable information on the emergence of new skills and roles in the health workforce, including for many allied health occupations. Findings from this study contribute to the development of methods for monitoring and tracking changing healthcare workforce demands using large electronic databases of job ads. This important information on how employers associate skills with posted job titles can help educational institutions, training programs, accrediting bodies and health workforce planners better prepare workers with the competencies to meet market demand.


  • Authors:

    Frogner BK, Stubbs BA, Skillman SM

  • Journal/Publisher:

    Center for Health Workforce Studies, University of Washington

  • Edition:

    Aug 2018.

  • Documents:

    Policy Brief
    Full Report

  • Citation:

    Frogner BK, Stubbs BA, Skillman SM. Emerging Roles and Occupations in the Health Workforce. Center for Health Workforce Studies, University of Washington, Aug 2018.

  • Related Studies:

    Emerging Roles in Allied Health Occupations