The future of healthcare and technology
Friday, 11 March 2016
If we focus on a solution, we can work through problems as they arise and not use them as barriers which prevent us from taking action in the first place.
This was a key theme of a presentation I gave last year in Brisbane about the intrinsic link between the future of healthcare and technology.
What does the future of healthcare in Australia look like? Here are some statistics to consider:
Health expenditure within Australia is currently $6600 per person, per year.
Almost 80 per cent of health costs are consumed in the final 20 per cent of our lives.
Approximately 40 per cent of our nursing workforce is over the age of 50.
In four years, there will be more 65 year olds in Australia than one year olds (and I work for a health organisation which welcomes about 30 babies every day!).
Embracing the ways in which technology can support the sustainable delivery of healthcare within Australia is essential to overcoming the challenge of providing affordable healthcare to an ageing population.
What balances this challenge is the proliferation of data—the ways in which we can access, interpret and use this data has the potential to drive how we proactively plan for the delivery of healthcare, rather than simply retrospectively analysing information then planning for change.
We need to be using this data now. Not in 5 years. Not in 10 years. Now. To do this, I believe we need to not only embrace technology but genuinely change our mindset around how we deliver health.
We have one of the best healthcare systems in the word, but it is unsustainable.
We need to move past traditional ways of recording health information—which has been paper-based—and change this information into something electronic which can be consumed by systems and provided to those who need it, when they need it—getting the right information, to the right people, at the right time.
The potential to create relationships between these different sources of data creates an opportunity to be innovative in how we ensure organisations such as Mater—which have traditionally delivered healthcare within a hospital—remain relevant in a society which is moving to a model of healthcare delivery in the community.
The provision of effective care should revolve around the patient, rather than around the current system. By taking this approach we will see better outcomes and more engaged consumers.
A great example of this concept in action is being implemented by a paediatrician I recently spoke to in the U.S. who is using social media to keep track of her patients. It has decreased the number of appointments required and appointments are only made when necessary, instead of the traditional ‘every six months’. This saves time and money; and her consumers are more engaged and willing to communicate. Would this mean embracing social media as a form of communication? Yes. Is that scary? Maybe. Should that stop us from doing it in a safe, appropriate way? Absolutely not.
Our consumers are dictating how they want to engage—they have high expectations and want quick satisfaction when it comes to communication and access to data.
We need to establish comprehensive information strategies, organise our technical architecture, and put ourselves in a better position to use data more effectively.
This is no easy task, but by taking this action and focussing on solutions which have the potential to transform how we provide services, we can aim to make healthcare more affordable; engage with consumers with a focus on preventative medicine (think about all the data we have to support this!) and ease the burden on a system which will be unsustainable in the near future.
Steven Parrish, Chief Information Officer
Posted: 11/03/2016 10:10:25 AM
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Tags: data, healthcare, social media, technology