Performance across the indices
The Index evaluates the readiness of countries to address pressing health challenges by measuring the perceptions and experiences of the key users of healthcare systems across the access to healthcare, integration of the health system, and adoption of connected care technologies.
- Access: Australia ranks 3rd of 19 when it comes to the reality of access to healthcare, with a score of 79.7 (19-country average: 64.7). When it comes to perception of access, the general public and HCPs perceived slightly lower access than in reality with a perception score of 73.7.
- Integration: Australia received a reality score of 18.4 (19-country average: 24.1) for integration across the healthcare system, ranking 11th out of the 19 countries in the study. Perception of integration was much higher than the reality, with the general population and HCPs giving a perception score of 54.1, highlighting room for improvement.
- Adoption: The area with the greatest potential for improvement in Australia appears to be in the adoption of connected care technologies. Of the 19 countries surveyed, Australia fell at the bottom of the list for adoption, with a reality index score of 9.1 (19-country average: 57.7), however the public perception of adoption was again far above the reality with a score 50.5. The low reality index score is driven by low levels of IT spending on Internet of Things (IoT) in hardware in healthcare hardware as a percentage of GDP and a lack of a cohesive national health technology medical policy.
Efficiency in Australian healthcare
The study also produced an efficiency ratio to compare healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP with health outcomes, providing a snapshot of how healthcare spending is ultimately impacting the health of the population. Australia’s efficiency ratio falls below the 19-country average of 10.5 at 9.5, indicating the outcomes achieved by the healthcare spend are not optimal.
“Australia’s current approach to healthcare has afforded the population great access and results, but it has come at high cost. Healthcare spend in Australia as a percentage of GDP is 9.4, compared to the global average of 8.7. If this above average spend was matched with efficiency equally above average, we’d be in a much better position, but it’s not. The reality is that we still need better integration and the adoption of healthcare technologies to facilitate a more efficient value-based model of care,” said Barrow.
Australia’s performance across the indices and in terms of efficiency highlights the potential for improved integration and adoption of connected care technologies to increase Australian healthcare efficiencies.
“There are pockets of innovation in Australia, where the current delivery of care is being disrupted by connected technologies and we are starting to see value-based models introduced. We need to use these examples to illustrate the benefits of such technologies and apply these models more broadly,” said Barrow.
Philips’ partnership with West Moreton Hospital and Health Services (WMHHS) is one such example of leading local innovation. The recently introduced Mobile Enabled Care (MeCare) has delivered a user-friendly, connected health management program that provides in-home continuous monitoring and care for people with chronic health conditions. The program recently has won a Queensland Health eAward in the Clinical Innovator category. Dr. Kerrie Freeman, WMHHS Interim Chief Executive, said there is a significant role for technology in enabling the future delivery of care.
“With the growing number of studies into effectiveness of healthcare delivery models for patients, adapting new innovations in the care setting is important. As the pressures on the health system continue to grow, we will need to continue to deliver better quality care by harnessing technology opportunities to improve the cost, quality and outcomes of care for the community. That is one of the key drivers for the MeCare program. It offers a new model of care, through which we are able to connect patients with services remotely and improve quality of life, prevent Emergency Department presentation and inpatient admission, ultimately easing burden on the system,” Dr. Freeman said.
To download the 2017 Future Health Index report in its entirety, please visit here. For additional Future Health Index related content, please visit here. For the Australian summary of the report commissioned by Philips, please visit here.