Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Increase in Ambulatory Care Employment (1998-2006)

Ambulatory care means, I guess, medical care where you amble in: walk in and walk out. This is one of the largest subcategories in the "Health Care & Social Services" economic sector for Montgomery County.

This is pretty much doctor’s offices, medical labs and diagnostic centers, and outpatient clinics of various kinds. But it also includes home health care (which is a fairly large subcategory) and a collection of things like blood donor centers, ambulance services, and so forth, which I grouped as an “other” category.

The bulk of the employment here are in doctor’s offices, which includes ophthalmologists, dentists, chiropractors and such, followed by home health care. Outpatient clinics and the “other” category are a fairly low porportion.

Breaking out doctors offices , one can see how employment in this category is increasing at a good clip. This is probably one of the best subsectors for employment growth.

For the other subsectors, one can see an unusual dip for home health care and then a rapid rise. The other subsectors are relatively low employment, though at the end of the period they the Medical Labs & Diagnostic Centers reach 1,000 employees, with Outpatient Clincis not far behind.
Looking at trend lines, I start the home health care trend at the bottom of the dip, in 2002. This sector has a very high rate of growth, with the other subsectors less so.

Home health care might be expected to grow due to an aging and infirm population. But the big surprise is the increase in job growth in doctors offices. The data can separate out what kind of doctors offices, but not by the kind of worker. An assumption is that there are maybe more nurses and paraprofessionals working in offices now, not necessarily a big increase in the supply of MDs and other medical professionals (though there might be some if specialization is increasing).

(all the numbers are sourced from County Business Patterns and are for Montgomery County, including Dayton city).

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