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In the U.S. alone, some 12 million-plus people are employed in the health care field, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Each person has his or her own reasons for entering the medical field, but there's one desire that unites the vast majority: a willingness to help others. Rare is the job that lets you have this much impact on another person's life. Be it a doctor, nurse, physical therapist or technician, health care workers are often there for other people at their lowest points, helping people recover and return to their lives.
"Health care workers touch people's lives."
Here are four such health care careers that truly make a difference:
It's a sad fact that many people live in pain due to existing conditions. The Institute of Medicine estimated that as many as 100 million Americans experience daily pain due to some chronic ailment. This pain can be so intense that up to 20 percent of these patients have difficulty sleeping. Often, their only form of relief comes with regular massage therapy. These specialists work alongside patients to relieve painful muscle aches and unspecified sores. A well-trained therapist can also bolster a patient's immune system and help prevent future injuries, according to a 2012 study from Emory University. Massage therapy is a tool for patients of all ages, backgrounds and medical needs.
Whether an immunologist or a cancer specialist, every doctor relies on the help of a medical assistant. In many ways, these workers are an extension of the doctor and have to handle a number of medical and administrative tasks. That includes everything from assisting with lab procedures and performing tests like EKGs to helping in reception and interviewing patients. As such, a medical assistant occupies a significant role in any patient's experience, and assistants are responsible for keeping patients feeling safe and comfortable. The American Academy of Family Physicians said that assistants are invaluable for most doctors, creating a better patient flow and lessening a physician's workload.
3.Medical billing and coding
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics explained that medical billing and coding is one of the fastest growing fields in the health care industry, expected to grow an astounding 15 percent by 2024. It's no wonder these specialists are so in demand. Coding and billing is hugely important to all patients, whether they realize it or not. A 2014 survey from TransUnion Healthcare found that most people are perplexed about their medical bills. Having someone who knows how to bill properly is going to make patients feel only more at peace and better engaged with their personal health care. Keep that in mind if you ever work with patients, as they'll be glad to know they have an ally in an important, albeit slightly confusing process.
"Even office staff play a huge role in a patient's recovery."
4. Health care management
Unlike some of the other positions, those in health care management may not have as much direct contact with patients, unless, of course, you work in outpatient or physician coding. Still, much like specialists in billing and coding, health care management is of the utmost importance to all patients. Much of the management side is about helping an office or hospital run smoothly, including establishing office procedures, taking part in marketing or strategic planning, writing interoffice reports, assisting with human resource issues and verifying electronic health records. Without the work of these specialists, no medical institution would be able to run efficiently, and patients would be without the care they need. Even if someone in management never comes in contact with patients, he or she played a massive role in their recovery and returning them to good health.