Healthcare trends and innovations 2022 and beyond
Healthcare in Australia is changing as more and more people prioritise their health and wellbeing and we continue adapting in response to COVID. Members of our leadership team share some of the trends and innovations they see reshaping our health system this year and beyond.
David Koczkar, CEO
We’re now starting to experience some of the longer-term health implications of COVID – with many people’s mental health suffering, the impact of big decreases in diagnostic tests and scans like colonoscopies, mammograms and MRIs over the past two years now playing out and restrictions on elective surgery increasing pressure on public waitlists. But the challenges of COVID are also leading to new and novel ways to tackle these and other health issues, fast-tracking new approaches to care that are bringing together the public and private sectors and incorporating technologies in new ways to address these. The uptake of telehealth and the wider use of care in the home has also laid the foundation for the next level of health services and support built around the needs of patients. From managing a surge in COVID cases through to providing support in areas such as mental health, we’ll see more partnerships develop that will help support capacity and strengthen our healthcare system across the country. And expect to see an increased focus on better environmental, social and governance practices within healthcare, as community, employee and investor expectations around sustainability concerns grow and companies work to make a more positive impact on society.
Kylie Bishop, Group Executive – People, Culture & Sustainability
People have done plenty of reflection on what’s important to them over the past few years – particularly where and how they want to be spending their time. I think this is going to create issues for organisations that don’t have a strong culture and connection to purpose. People will increasingly want to feel as though they are making a meaningful contribution to their community, so a business’ vision, purpose and culture will be at the heart of their decision making on whether to stay or leave. Employees are also expecting more from their employer and rightly so. I feel this will particularly be the case in regard to the role businesses should play in the health and wellbeing of their people. This boundary has previously been too strong and organisations will be expected to ‘lean in’ more and provide support for their people and loved ones through flexible work arrangements and support for carers for example.
Milosh Milisavljevic, Group Executive – Customer Portfolios
With the increasing pressure on our hospital system, we expect to see more and more preventative health care options and innovations coming through this year. Think even more personalisation, digitisation, and all in real time. And with the expectation that even more health issues will emerge from the COVID pandemic, virtual preventative health programs will continue to adapt to the ever-changing health needs of people in Australia. We see personalisation going to the next level, with more goal-oriented health recommendations to help people increase their health and wellbeing.
John Goodall, Group Executive - Technology & Operations
The pandemic has driven the adoption of digital health experiences, and I expect momentum in this space to grow in 2022 with different parts of the health services eco-system partnering more than ever before to create new digital services and platforms. If momentum continues we should see less paper in the system, we should have less forms to fill in, we should see our information seamlessly move (with permission) from primary to secondary care settings and we should be able to digitally see what services we’ve had and what we’ve signed up for. There’ll be more in-home care, more internet of things to track your recovery at home (e.g. blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors) seamlessly connecting into your clinicians monitoring systems, and our high acuity clinical settings will be free to be used when it matters most.
Andrew Wilson, Group Executive – CEO Health Services
Virtual care started to deliver on its promise throughout COVID but its application will extend far beyond this. My Home Hospital, which we deliver with Calvary on behalf of Wellbeing SA, is a good example. This program provides hospital-level care to public patients in their homes. It’s a model of care that has the potential to be expanded across other jurisdictions in our health system. I expect to see demand from our own customers continue to increase for in-home care services. Our Medibank at Home program has supported more than 20,000 customers to date and in 2022 we’ll see that number grow even more. More generally, a lot more emphasis will be placed on designing healthcare around the needs and preferences of patients. Alternatives to traditional hospital care in the form of ambulatory care centres and short stay care models will expand to meet growing demand. Digital innovation will continue to transform the way that primary care, allied health, and specialist care such as mental health support can be delivered.
Rob Deeming, Group Executive - Customer & Brands
The health industry is going through a period of acceleration and one particular thing I’m excited to be a part of is digitising the health experience for mental health so we can deliver for our customers in a seamless way. End to end mental health is very important. People struggle to work out where to start with how to support their own mental health. There’s a solution for us to provide here in how we can support someone through this journey.
Mei Ramsay, Group Executive – Legal, Governance & Compliance
COVID will continue to have strategic, commercial and operational impacts, and legal teams Australia-wide will need to keep adapting. Innovations in telehealth, preventative health and homecare will continue into 2022 and supporting this from a legal, governance and compliance perspective will be key. I also expect technology will continue to influence governance practices – most ASX-listed companies have had to hold their AGMs virtually and you’d expect we’ll be seeing hybrid in-person/virtual AGMs in the future.