Healthcare, the Election, and Gen Z in the Workforce

Posted November 9, 2020
By Miona Short

So it looks like election season is over. Whew. As always, healthcare was on voters’ minds, with the added tension of the COVID-crisis. Healthcare is a galaxy of a topic dense with complex politics, businesses, and histories. But the overall goal is consistent. Healthcare should be simple and efficient. Anyone reading this knows that US healthcare rarely lives up to that, and you are likely reading because you work for an entity that seeks to simplify some aspect of that major pain-in the problem. Now there’s a new generation entering the workforce, and like every generation, we’re bringing in our unique collective experience to tackle this multi-generational pain-in-the problem. However, might this industry have a hard time attracting a group raised with online shopping and social media? Nah, I actually don’t think so.  

———————————————-

Lemme establish a spot of credibility here. (Feel free to skip)

 Miona Short, an autobiography in Short:

 Born in 1995, I am what is referred to as a “cusper” –someone born on the cusp of two generations. On the one hand, I remember Furbies, Tamagachis, and the initial reign of the Now That’s What I Call Music commercials. Also, among my first memories was the Chicago Bulls winning the ’98 NBA Championship. A just-made-it Millennial. On the other hand, I do not know what a “Ross Perot” is; I’ve been on social media since I was 10 (ah yes, Club Penguin, a world ruled by 5th graders.) And I am slowly regaining what some clinicians call an “attention span.”  A Gen Zer…who should take a break from weekend binge-watching. (But I just started The Wire so that’ll have to wait). FIN.

Stereotypically, Millennials are known for living fast and wanting to have a good time, whereas Gen Z is quickly gaining a reputation for being less social, but more practical. To sum up my unique mix of pragmatic idealism, let’s just say “yes, I’ll go to brunch and have that avocado toast, but I’m taking it home to watch The Office while my best friend stays mute on Facetime reading for grad school.” All to say, I have one foot in the door of each experience.

———————————————-

As someone who has newly entered the healthcare universe I have some thoughts about this industry as a new crop of us file or wander in.

100 years after the Lost Generation entered adulthood during a World War and pandemic, Generation Z is in a comparable place. In a similar depiction as the “return to normalcy” slogan from President Warren G Harding’s 1920 campaign, President-elect Biden declared in his acceptance speech that “it’s time to see each other again, listen to each other again.” No doubt a reference to how the Trump years spawned a chasmic political and social divide.

Still, as a new generation trickles into the working world, there are ways that seeing and listening to each other will be novel as we hopefully are unwrapped into our own roaring 20s.

———————————————-

What’s working in healthcare, and particularly health tech’s favor is that there’s a lot of opportunity to solve different problems. Between COVID, the ONC, digital health, payers, and providers, there’s a little something for everyone. A year and a half ago, if you’d told me that I’d care about solving the interoperability problem in healthcare, I’d probably say “sorry wrong number, friend.” But alas. I’m in this, and couldn’t imagine a better industry or company to serve.

What also works for healthcare is the security. Most people around my age are leaving undergrad or grad school, and we’re hungry. We’re excited to use the skills we’ve picked up in school while they’re still fresh in our minds, and we also want to be able to afford more than Ramen noodle packets. Healthcare is a great place to hone college-learned skills while also picking up others. I’m an astrophysicist and poet now in marketing. It’s a blast so far to engage multiple aspects of my brain, while also doing something that helps people. AND it affords me a better grade of sushi than I was used to. That alone *chef’s kiss*.

Healthcare is an industry that will grow as our population and their needs do. Fortunately, there are a lot of good, smart people are taking on this large issue. Redox, too, is a place that will continue to grow because a lot a good, smart people are taking on a the large issue of interoperability.

I, shockingly, am not the voice of a generation. But I do think the simultaneous shift in our country, our healthcare landscape and our workforce is exciting, and will foster growth for years to come.