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An Overview of Allied Health

Allied health can be thought of either as a misnomer, an oxymoron, or a descriptive term. Some allied health professions with large numbers of practitioners may feel that their group is large enough to seek its own identity, thus it is not aligning with allied health. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, or radiologic technology, for example, have thousands of workers, whereas groups such as anesthesia assisting, medical illustration, and electroneurodiagnostic technology may not have as many students, nor be able to produce the number of graduates to meet the needs of the healthcare market. The term allied health can also be viewed as an oxymoron. The number of allied health professionals that want to splinter from the larger, more encompassing term of allied health and become a distinct entity is directly proportional to both the number of workers in the fields delivering services and to how much money is available for lobbying on behalf of these groups. Allied health is also a descriptive term. Currently, bills are being introduced into Congress for the express purpose of supporting allied health. By ensuring that allied health remains the term used, perhaps legislators and consumers alike will start to understand what the definition means.

How do you view the term allied health? Why?

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In my view, allied health is a descriptive term of a large group of individuals or health care professionals, that encompass over 50% of the total US health care workforce, which makes this group of professionals a vital and instrumental ...