Report reveals top trends driving Australia’s health sector in 2022
It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for the healthcare sector and the pace of change is not showing any signs of slowing down. Between the pandemic and the growing incidence of chronic disease in Australia, the healthcare industry is going through a period of evolution to find new and innovative ways to improve patient outcomes. While it’s hard to predict what’s around the corner, we can take an educated guess.
Let’s take a look at some of the healthcare trends we can expect to see in Australia in 2022.
1. More remote health services
COVID-19 has brought about a shift to remote technology in all areas of our lives and this change has been extremely profound for healthcare providers. With telehealth now firmly entrenched in the mainstream, it’s likely we’re going to see more remote technology as the year continues. It’s not just telehealth appointments, we can expect an increase in remote health monitoring and other health services like ePrescribing.
Remote technology is beneficial for the entire healthcare industry, from patients to practitioners. The pandemic highlighted the vulnerabilities of the current public health system and public hospitals in particular. It’s likely we’ll see a complete transformation of the industry in both the public and private sector.
2. Improvements in healthcare technology
Health care technology is on the increase, and we’re likely to see increased digitisation in the health industry. Other promising technology includes artificial intelligence, virtual reality and wearable medical technology to allow for better remote monitoring and improved health outcomes for patients with chronic conditions. It’s also likely that we’ll see improvements in and greater use of existing technologies like cloud clinical software and electronic medical records.
3. Significant investment in patient experience
Patient-centric care remains a top trend in healthcare, and expectations are evolving as patients get used to having more sophisticated, convenient, transparent, affordable and personalised service. Because of this we’re likely to see a greater investment in patient experience from healthcare professionals.
Since COVID, patients are also welcoming the flexibility that modern technology brings to their care. Reports show that patients are now more willing to be monitored wirelessly for their conditions, and to consider receiving traditionally hospital-based medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, at home.
In order to deliver these personalised services, many healthcare companies will need to continue to transform their traditional business models and ways of working to become more patient-centric. A number of organisations in the healthcare industry in Australia have already started by allowing patients to self-serve, book appointments online and access telehealth appointments at a time that suits them.
4. Culture change and health equity in our health systems
The inequalities in our healthcare systems have been highlighted during COVID and this has prompted many within and outside the social services sector to advocate for change. Health disparities between different socioeconomic groups have showed up a number of flaws in our health system. This highlights how a culture of engagement and accountability is essential for health systems to succeed in an era of population health management.
5. Digital solutions for an ageing population
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Australia in 2017, there were 3.8 million Australians aged 65 and over, and this proportion of older Australians will continue to grow. By 2057, it is projected there will be 8.8 million older people in Australia (22% of the population).
This trend towards an older population brings with it a number of challenges including the rise of chronic diseases and a growing need for essential services for older people, including mental health services. It’s likely that policy reforms like the Aged Care Royal Commission, digital transformation, wearable devices and smart modular housing will provide the biggest opportunities to revolutionise aged care in 2022 and beyond.