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New survey reveals big opportunity for tech in AU healthcare

13 Jun 2017

A new survey of 33,000 individuals across 19 countries and commissioned by Royal Phillips has found Australia is behind when it comes to integration across the healthcare system and adoption of connected care technologies.

The Future Health Index made some startling findings, including the fact that the vast majority of healthcare professionals in Australia believe connected care technology is important improving treatment (84 percent) and diagnosis (82 percent) of medical conditions.

However, an extremely underwhelming 27 percent and 25 percent believe these technologies are currently being used often or always for treatment and diagnosis, respectively.

When it comes to adoption of connected care technologies, Australia fell at the bottom of the list among the 19 countries with a reality index score of just 9.1 as opposed to the 19-country average of 57.7. Interestingly, the public perception of adoption is far above the reality, with a score of 50.5.

According to Phillips, the low reality index score is driven by low levels of IT spending on Internet of Things in healthcare hardware as a percentage of GDP and a lack of cohesive national health technology medical policy.

Managing director for Philips Australia and New Zealand, Kevin Barrow says there is huge potential for improved integration and adoption of connected care technologies to increase Australian healthcare efficiencies.

“There are pockets of innovation in Australia, where the current delivery of care is being disrupted by connected technologies and we are starting to see value-based models introduced,” says Barrow.

“We need to use these examples to illustrate the benefits of such technologies and apply these models more broadly.”

Australia is also lagging in the integration across the healthcare system department, coming in at 11th of the 19 countries in the study with a reality score of 18.4 (19-country average: 24.1).

Despite Australia lagging in the ranks of technology adoption and integration, the study does show that the country does well in healthcare access, coming in at third place of the 19 countries. And the reason?

“Australia’s current approach to healthcare has afforded the population great access and results, but it has come at high cost. Healthcare spend in Australia as a percentage of GDP is 9.4, compared to the global average of 8.7,” says Barrow.

“If this above average spend was matched with efficiency equally above average, we’d be in a much better position, but it’s not. The reality is that we still need better integration and the adoption of healthcare technologies to facilitate a more efficient value-based model of care.”

Australia’s performance across the indices and in terms of efficiency highlights the potential for improved integration and adoption of connected care technologies to increase Australian healthcare efficiencies.

“With the growing number of studies into effectiveness of healthcare delivery models for patients, adapting new innovations in the care setting is important."

“As the pressures on the health system continue to grow, we will need to continue to deliver better quality care by harnessing technology opportunities to improve the cost, quality and outcomes of care for the community," Barrow concludes.

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