The future of technology in the health industry

1st May, 2017

Medical technology

The health industry is changing at a rapid pace, but healthcare providers aren’t keeping up.

When it comes to the back-office functions of healthcare providers, they find that their systems are disconnected and inefficient – which is strange because tech in the health industry is improving real outcomes.

This is an industry where an enormous opportunity is opening up thanks to technology such as the Internet of Things, e-health, m-health and interconnected practices.

All of these things offer medical professionals remote, real-time access to in-depth patient health data.

This allows for better monitoring, remote diagnosis, quicker response times and more.

To understand the opportunity in the healthcare space, you need to understand the trends emerging thanks to tech.

Then, you need to be in a position to take advantage of them.

How will connected healthcare benefit business health professionals and their consumers?

Innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the Healthcare Technology sector is leading to rapid advancements and the delivery of major improvements in the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Innovations include remote health monitoring, 3D printing, robots that operate, robots that swim, improved vision for the blind, exo-skeletons and improved data analytics.

The government hopes that the introduction of digitalised health records in the form of My Health Record will also unlock more efficiencies for businesses operating health system.

Meanwhile, mobile health is changing the game again.

It allows medical and health professionals to be supported by mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets and wearable devices.

mHealth is predicted to be a major disrupter in health care and has the potential to transform the face of health service delivery and could be used as a strategy for strengthening health systems.

Factors enabling this change include rapid advances in mobile technologies and applications, a rise in new opportunities for the integration of mobile health into existing eHealth services, and the continued growth in coverage of mobile cellular networks.

It’s an exciting time, and the scale of the opportunity is huge.

The opportunity, and why many providers are missing out

Spending on health in Australia was $161.6 billion in 2014-15 with almost a tenth of Australian GDP currently spent on healthcare.

Healthcare is growing at double the pace of Australia’s GDP and the local opportunities for technology innovation and growth are huge.

Without reform, the cost of healthcare will become unsustainable. Organisations will need to innovate and adapt, developing new service delivery models for patient care.

The opportunity is big, but health organisations aren’t adapting to the change.

In some ways, they’re confronting the opportunities and challenges of tomorrow with the organisational tools of yesterday.

I’ve been working with two large regional hospitals and other disability service providers to assist in the development of processes, systems and procedures for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) service provision, activity capture and associated billing.

The challenge has been to set up the system integration needed for this.

In my experience, major health services and smaller health or disability service providers often have a plethora of software systems for various functions.

The problem, however, is the lack the connectivity between these systems, precluding the efficient and secure transfer of information from one system to another.

It’s like working inside a bubble, where there are other bubbles you can see but can’t access.

What does the evolving health industry mean for businesses starting out?

Small business faces the same problems where systems sit in isolation from each other and do not enable informed, timely decision making.

Organisations wanting to take part in an increasingly sophisticated and technology-led healthcare system need to adapt themselves.

Connectivity between the systems used for accounting, budgeting and reporting, workforce and client management is essential to making informed business decisions which are based on real time information.

MYOB understands the importance of connected technology and can add real value to businesses that provide services to the health industry by streamlining and automating financial processes.

Connectivity which will improve productivity, gain real-time visibility and improve business decision making.

I’ve recommended the use of MYOB Add-on Solutions like Calxa for budgeting and reporting and easyemployer for workforce management.

I’ve encouraged our clients to adopt MYOB online accounting software and run their business in the cloud and invite their admin team, accountant or bookkeeper into their accounts to collaborate.