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I, like many often use the stock market as a litmus test for questions that I have about business and the economy.  If I want to validate my fears about the housing market I look to the exchange traded REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) funds and if I’m wondering if people are still spending their discretionary income I look to the stocks that depend upon discretionary spending such as video game companies and retailers.

While it’s not a foolproof method of testing my own hypotheses about the market, it is a useful piece of information that I consider along with many others in order to form an understanding about what is going on in our economy.  As a healthcare practice consultant and practice manager, I apply this same information to the healthcare industry to help determine needs that may exist throughout the U.S., as well as the ultimate direction of our company.

While the healthcare industry faces tough times in terms of reimbursement and regulation, there exists a steady flow of business through the healthcare professions, and healthcare is needed in all types of economic conditions.  This article from CNN Money speaks to this point, and is indicative of how healthcare can thrive in the face of economic challenges.

As the market flirts with recession, many of the top performers are healthcare providers, suggesting that the sector could be returning to its old reputation as a safe port in a storm.

“Traditionally in times of economic turmoil, healthcare is a place to run, because it is viewed as a safe sector, because people continue to use [healthcare] even in difficult times,” said Angela Maria Larson, drug industry analyst for the Susquehanna Financial Group.