Melbourne Business School News Disruption in Healthcare

Disruption in Healthcare

Fitbits, Dr Google and customer directed care – these are just some of the influences that are turning the healthcare system, as we know it, on its head.

The “Disruption in Healthcare” alumni panel covered these topics and more at the 2016 Alumni Reunion with the overarching theme being the impact of Australia’s ageing population. 

Panel chair, Melbourne Business School Principal Consultant Amanda Martin, who develops and leads healthcare senior executive programs, said digital technology, the internet and our hunger for wellbeing had created the “perfect storm” for the healthcare industry.

“We are more informed and we are more afraid. We are terrified of what’s going to happen to us in the future because we know more”.


Customer directed care
Department of Health and Human Services Victoria Deputy Secretary Frances Diver (SEMBA 2015) said consumers were more empowered and assertive about their care than ever before.

“Customer directed care and technology are the big disruptors in healthcare,” Frances said.

“Apps, payment systems, incentive systems, wearable technology, uploading information to medical and care coordinators coaches, phone lines…we are only at the baby steps at the beginning of that healthcare disruption.”

Frances said ageing, population growth, changing case mix and avoidable admissions to hospital were the things that “kept her up at night” in terms of the challenges for Victoria’s heath system.

Innovative Health Care Models
Capital Guardians Operation Director Ross McDonald (SEMBA 2006) said in the United States the rise of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) was one to watch for the Australian healthcare sector.

“ACOs are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who work together for their patients and what is happening is they are getting the costs down,” Ross said.

“It is preventative care aimed to keep patients out of hospital. These groups actually have to pay if their patients end up in hospital.”

Pulse Data Science Director John Meckiff (MBA 1996) said the “smartphone economy” had increased something called liquidity of expectations.

“You can be running late for an aeroplane, you think: ‘I haven’t booked in, I’m not going to make it and I don’t have a cab!’. Within 30 seconds you’ve booked a cab through Uber and 30 seconds later you’ve actually checked in for your flight…,” John said.

“When people hit the health system they are surprised how little digitisation and these kind of tools you can use on your smartphone actually apply to the health system.

“…there’s a paradigm shift that where we thought that technology would remove from the personal experience of healthcare, people are now seeking out technology to increase or improve personalisation.”

Aged Care Workforce
Joint Managing Director of aged care and disability sector platform Newly Pty Ltd and a hospital-trained registered nurse, Helen Kemp (MBA 1994) said the country’s ageing population and the resultant workforce needs was a major disruptor.

“What we are doing to ourselves because of our pretty good healthcare system is that we are increasing our lifespan by three months every year at the moment but that’s going to increase by one year by 2026,” Helen said.

The number of Australians expected to use Aged care services is expected to triple by 2050.

“In the next five years we need to go from 360,000 carers (certificate 3 & 4) to over 600,000 and in another 20 years that’s 800,000.”

Where to from here? Find out how the Leadership and Change in Healthcare executive education program can prepare you for disruption.