Strong industry growth and a constantly changing digital landscape are two realities we face in healthcare. Everything from advancements in medical technologies to an ever-growing workforce and policy reform are on our horizon. Therefore, pioneering organisational growth in 2018 (and beyond) requires deep strategic planning for healthcare leaders.
As we dive into 2018, now is the time to shape an effective growth strategy within your healthcare organisation. Here are three key insights to help inform your strategic plan:
1. Healthcare is Australia's fastest growing sector, but demand varies by location
According to the 2017 Industry Employment Projections Report, the healthcare industry will grow by 16% (or 250,000 jobs) by 2022. This makes it, by far, the nation’s fastest growing industry. This rise can be attributed to various factors, including Australia’s aging population, a growing demand for chronic care and an increasingly proactive approach to healthcare. While the growth of the healthcare industry remains undeniably strong, it’s worth noting that the distribution of healthcare professionals is uneven across the country – in fact, 85% of Australian medical specialists work in major cities.
Healthcare leaders can champion ongoing growth by reviewing what services your organisation currently provides, and further evaluating where opportunity and demand intersect.
Due to the distribution of medical specialists and population demographics, demand will vary across the country. An acute understanding of our nation’s needs, on a state, city and suburb level, will ensure your organisation is best positioned for profitable, long term growth.
2. A connected care ecosystem is imperative
The numbers say it all: a recent study conducted by the Australian Digital Health Agency discovered 65% of respondents find the Australian healthcare system difficult to navigate. Furthermore, 50% of participants also indicated that they would like to be able to access their personal health information using digital devices. Despite this demand, Australia’s adoption of connected care technologies ranks last on the international scale of 19 nations.
Creating a more patient-centric ecosystem takes time, but patient-centred care is both a business and medical imperative. Taking action within your healthcare organisation will involve adopting innovative technology that enables an ecosystem of care that puts patients first.
Adopting a connected care ecosystem:
Empowered patients are at the core of a connected care ecosystem, as are practitioners who partner with patients to equip them with the right knowledge and engage them in their healthcare journey. Through actively fostering partnerships with other specialists, GPs and Allied Health professionals, healthcare organisations can ensure there’s always convenient and secure access to trusted providers – and as a consequence, this network of providers can deliver seamless patient experiences.
Leveraging cloud technology:
From allowing patients to find and book practitioners online, to securely sharing patient information within your team, the benefits of using cloud-based practice management platforms are endless. Taking advantage of these technologies will streamline your organisational processes and vastly improve patient experiences.
3. Empowered patients will engage in their healthcare journey differently
The emerging transition to value-based, patient-centred care is empowering a generation of patients who are taking a more active role in their healthcare journey. Much like consumer brands, healthcare organisations must treat patients as partners rather than just customers.
In a study named Patients as Partners: A Qualitative Study of Patients’ Engagement in Their Health Care, Antony Bayer explains the trickle-down effect this partnership model has on patients, practitioners, administrators and the healthcare industry in general:
"By gaining a deeper understanding of patient partnership practices, health professionals are likely to feel less threatened and will be better able to establish trust-based relationships with their patients.
Furthermore, administrators will be able to ensure that professionals in their institutions are better prepared to help patients obtain optimal care and services.
Finally, at a policy level, a deeper understanding of patient partnership should help build an improved healthcare system where patients’ experiential knowledge and unique position as experts on living with their... illnesses allow them to be increasingly integrated and to have a greater role in ensuring optimal care."
Steps healthcare leaders can take to cultivate a collaborative patient relationship include:
Guiding patients to make informed decisions
Strive to equip patients with the knowledge necessary to engage in the decision-making process, rather than simply giving them instructions. Giving patients a sense of autonomy becomes even more crucial in multidisciplinary organisations, where multiple parties are involved in their care. Patients should feel as though they are part of a team, rather than being dictated a course of action.
Empowering patients with knowledge
Educating patients about why they’re being recommended a certain course of treatment is essential for improving medical adherence – and thus, improving the outcome.
“The more empowered patients feel, the more likely they are to be motivated to manage their disease and adhere to their medications. Thus, a key factor that can improve patient-related medication adherence is actively involving patients in treatment decisions when possible.”
— Dr. Marie Brown and Dr. Jennifer Bussell, Medical Adherence: Who Cares?
Over to you
As our nation changes, so too must our healthcare systems. With innovative technology, a wealth of data, and a high performing workforce of healthcare professionals, we’re positioned to provide world-class care. The question is: is your organisation ready to adapt and grow?
Future proof your organisation for long term success, by exploring the essentials of effective change management. Our guide will help you pave the way for ongoing growth now and in decades to come.