When you think of healthcare careers, the roles that typically come to mind are physicians, nurses, dentists, and medical technicians who work directly with patients. However, the healthcare industry also depends on a network of behind-the-scenes roles that contribute to public health outcomes.

From administrators to IT specialists to lab technicians, healthcare facilities rely on collaboration between teams with different skill sets. For example, healthcare environments have complex business operations that are closely regulated and require precision and expertise from regulatory affairs professionals.

If you’re interested in helping others, but don’t want to make a huge upfront commitment, there are several career paths available to you. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of working in healthcare, as well as a list of common healthcare careers you can pursue that don’t involve a large amount of patient contact.

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The Benefits of Working in Healthcare

As a core industry in today’s society, healthcare careers offer numerous benefits to people who are passionate about improving the health and wellness of communities.

Unlike other industries, healthcare is a recession-resistant field, providing job security even during economic downturns. The industry is also constantly experiencing growth, technological advancement, and the emergence of innovative new markets. These advancements create a demand for new healthcare positions that may appeal to your interests in the future.

Even as the industry evolves, positions in healthcare administration, information technology, regulatory affairs, and management remain in demand. Therefore, getting an advanced education in healthcare generally provides a return on investment.

Whether you prefer clinical or non-clinical roles, the healthcare industry offers so much diversity in career paths that you can easily pivot and use your transferable skills in other fields, regardless of the discipline you initially pursue. These roles also offer highly competitive salaries and lots of opportunities for advancement due to ongoing shortages in the industry.

On a personal level, working in healthcare can offer lifelong fulfillment and growth. While these may not involve direct patient interaction, they still significantly contribute to patient outcomes by mitigating risks, optimizing processes, and safeguarding sensitive information.

Seven Healthcare Careers With No Patient Contact

Behind-the-scenes medical jobs play a vital role in shaping healthcare policy, monitoring the safety of medical products, improving healthcare operations, and protecting patient data and privacy. In other words, healthcare careers with little patient contact are no less crucial to the overall healthcare experience.

Take a look at the many ways you can contribute to community well-being in a more behind-the-scenes capacity.

1. Regulatory Affairs

Regulatory affairs professionals work behind the scenes, evaluating the complex rules and regulations governing healthcare industries. Some specialists work with regulatory agencies, helping to develop compliance policies that protect public health. Others work with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to make sure their products are in compliance with regulatory requirements.

Some of the top regulatory affairs career paths include:

  • Regulatory policy/intelligence: Stays up to date on evolving healthcare policies and regulations and assesses the impact of various regulatory issues
  • Chemistry, manufacturing, controls (CMC): Oversees the quality and compliance of pharmaceutical products
  • Labeling: Ensures accurate and compliant labeling of medical products
  • Regulatory operations: Manages the submission of regulatory documents
  • Medical devices: Monitors the development of medical devices for compliance
  • Veterinary medicine: Oversees regulatory aspects of animal healthcare
  • Quality compliance: Ensures healthcare products and processes satisfy quality standards for safety

Within each discipline, there’s further variety at different levels—depending on the type of role and degree of responsibility you’re seeking. Entry-level professionals can build experience in regulatory support roles as assistants and associates. As you gain more skills or education, however, you can move into specialized roles and middle management positions—eventually moving up to leadership roles.

2. Clinical Research

Clinical research is the backbone of medical advancement, involving the testing of new treatments, drugs, and therapies. While many roles in this field require working with the public during clinical trials, they do not involve direct patient care.

Entry-level careers in clinical research include:

  • Clinical trial assistant: Aids the coordination of clinical trials and maintains trial documentation
  • Clinical research coordinator: Manages the logistics of clinical trials, including patient recruitment and data collection
  • Data coordinator: Handles and analyzes clinical trial data, including sensitive medical records
  • Clinical research associate: Monitors the compliance of clinical trials and makes sure they follow an industry’s regulatory protocols

These roles serve as the foundation for more advanced positions, such as senior clinical research specialists, senior data coordinators, research program leaders, and clinical research lab directors or pharmacy directors.

3. Healthcare Administration

Healthcare administrators are in charge of the operational and managerial aspects of healthcare facilities. Administrators serve as leaders, and they must develop efficient processes for delivering high-quality care to patients. They manage budgets, personnel, and regulatory compliance, ensuring the smooth operation of healthcare organizations.

A few examples of healthcare administration careers include:

  • Health policy administrator: Oversees all the financial, ethical, logistical, and quality assurance aspects of providing healthcare services
  • Public affairs manager: Manages communication and relations with the public, media, and stakeholders in the healthcare sector
  • Healthcare actuary: Analyzes organizational and public health data to assess financial risks and develop strategies for healthcare insurance plans
  • Materials and equipment manager: Oversees the procurement and maintenance of medical equipment and supplies for healthcare providers
  • Healthcare marketing: Develops and executes marketing strategies to promote healthcare services and products

Some healthcare administrative roles, such as chief nursing officer (CNO), are only accessible to experienced direct-care medical professionals. However, as the healthcare landscape evolves and becomes more technologically focused, the demand for healthcare leaders with diverse skill sets in IT, business, strategic planning, public policy, operations, finance, and data analytics has continually grown.

4. Healthcare Information Technology

Healthcare careers with little patient contact are increasingly available in the IT sector. For decades, healthcare organizations have been incorporating more data analysis and digital equipment into routine processes. The COVID-19 pandemic sped up this transformation even further.

From blockchain electronic health records to medical diagnostic models to telemedicine platforms, technological tools aid in providing the best care possible. Healthcare information technology professionals manage and optimize the systems that support healthcare delivery.

Here are some examples of IT-related healthcare roles you can pursue:

  • Health information technologist: Assesses the clinical and technological needs of healthcare organizations to develop computerized systems
  • Health information technician: Manages patient records and verifies their accuracy and completeness

Health informatics careers include many sub-specialties, such as pharmacy informatics, public health informatics, and health informatics consultants. Although they approach health data from many angles, these roles generally involve analyzing trends, compliance, and public health impact to create better systems and data workflows.

5. Healthcare Business

Similar to any other large business, healthcare organizations have a host of internal operations occurring at once. As a result, there are numerous non-clinical positions in traditional business roles.

Some of these positions can be found in:

  • Marketing: Promotes healthcare services and products to the public
  • Sales: Facilitates the distribution of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals
  • Human resources: Manages the personnel, staffing, and workforce development needs of healthcare organizations
  • Finance: Oversees financial management and budgetary planning for healthcare facilities

6. Management Positions

Middle- and upper-management roles in healthcare are crucial for coordinating both strategic projects and daily operations. Managers exist on team and departmental levels and facilitate collaboration between different types of teams to keep organizations running smoothly.

These positions include:

  • Project manager: Oversees specific projects and team functions within healthcare organizations
  • Clinical research manager: Coordinates clinical studies and trials to develop improved healthcare solutions
  • Regulatory affairs management: Provides direction on compliance, quality control, and regulatory affairs issues
  • Healthcare leadership: Guides healthcare organizations toward their mission and strategic goals

7. Executive Positions

Executive roles are at the highest tiers of healthcare organizations and often require years of experience building multidisciplinary skill sets. Executive leaders steer the strategic direction of the industry and communicate these objectives for managers to implement at their respective levels.

Examples of executive healthcare positions include:

  • Chief executive officer: Provides overall leadership and direction to the organization
  • Chief medical officer: Oversees the vision and objectives of the medical operations for a healthcare organization
  • Chief technology officer: Leads technology-related initiatives and strategies for healthcare organizations

It’s important to note that chief medical officers are typically seasoned physicians. So, while the role doesn’t involve patient contact, candidates for this type of job must have substantial clinical experience. Traditionally, the majority of executive roles in healthcare have been held by physicians, but this is changing for business-oriented roles with the rise of advanced academic degrees in healthcare administration.

Improve Patient Outcomes Behind the Scenes

Working in healthcare doesn't always mean direct patient care. Whether you're interested in regulatory affairs, clinical research, healthcare administration, information technology, business, or management, you can have a positive impact on countless patients and open the door to diverse job opportunities long term.

Earning a master's degree in your field of choice is the best way to start a career in healthcare. Consider exploring Regis College’s graduate degrees, like their MS degree in Regulatory and Clinical Research Management (RCRM), which can equip you with the specialized knowledge and skills to excel in a dynamic healthcare role.

If you’re interested in learning more, an admissions counselor can help you consider these options and decide if a graduate degree aligns with your career plans.

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