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Frost & Sullivan presented the 2015 Australia Healthcare Information Technology (IT) Outlook at a live event in Sydney in March. This document compiles key trends and opinions presented at the event with supporting data and figures. 2015 predictions highlight key challenges and unmet healthcare industry needs that can be addressed through meaningful technology tools that help improve the quality and efficiency of health services in Australia.
Australia stands out as an advanced healthcare IT market within APAC ; However, fragmentation and lack of standardisation continue to plague the healthcare sytem
Asia Pacific (APAC) is the fastest growing healthcare information technology (healthcare IT) market across the world with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 13% between 2014 and 2020. Within APAC, after Japan, Australia is the second largest market for health technology adoption, with the 2015 healthcare IT market size estimated at AUD 1.20 billion. On average, Australian hospitals spend 3%-5% of their total expenditure on IT. Large, public hospitals are the highest and most frequent spenders.
Health technology adoption rates across APAC vary. This is attributed to the perception of and attitude toward embracing health IT by healthcare providers’ in each individual country. Australia is adept at using IT and is receptive to using software solutions to improve workflow processes, whereas China and India resist adoption and fear implementation as a result of a less informed understanding of its benefits.
Natasha Gulati, Industry Manager, Connected Health, Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan explained that an expenditure of $1.5 million is the minimum amount required for sufficient sophistication in clinical systems and hospital information systems so as to be deemed a technologically advanced hospital. Frost & Sullivan estimates that in 2014, about 54% of hospitals in Australia spent at least $1.5 million on health IT. This penetration is expected to increase to 57% by the end of 2015. However, Australia’s many large tier 1 hospitals that spend $1.5 million or more is offset by the number of tier 3 small hospitals in rural or remote areas that hardly spend anything in Health IT.
This fragmentation in the hospital infrastructure prevents a really robust development of health IT across the country; a problem also observed in Japan and South Korea that only have a lot of health IT adoption within tier one and tier two hospitals only. All 100% of Singapore’s hospitals spend 1.5 million on health IT but overall, there are fewer hospitals and most all health IT funding is by the government.
At present, a lot of health information is being collected; perhaps more in the last two years than in all the preceding five years. However, the fragmentation in the healthcare system does not allow the collected information to be managed, shared and used effectively. Dependable and reliable health data sharing is still a distant dream for Australia, although concerted efforts in this direction have begun. Health IT penetration in the country is expected to continue to rise, but mainly in the form of facility upgrades and hi-tech adoption across existing hospitals, and to a lesser extent, in the emergence of green-field digital hospitals. By 2020, it is expected that digital hospitals would be the level of the health delivery system in Australia with first movers being St. Stephen’s at Hervey Bay, Fiona Stanley Hospital in Western Australia, and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
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