How the Healthcare Industry is Likely to Change in Australia
The way that the world talks about healthcare has shifted considerably throughout the 2020s. Alongside the global pandemic, an event that saw an upheaval of medical requirements the likes of which we haven’t seen in our lifetime, came a newfound interest in healthcare reform and a growing call for more robust medical systems to be put in place.
Whilst this has certainly been a tumultuous time for patients and healthcare providers alike, one thing that has come from all this is the knowledge that we need more from both the government and our healthcare system. One major focus of this issue has been the need for more healthcare workers, as the pandemic highlighted and exacerbated pre existing issues with hospitals across the globe being understaffed and underprepared for the number of patients they were receiving.
Whether you’ve been considering a Master of Healthcare degree, you’re a medical student, or you’re in nursing school, the climate you’re entering will likely be quite different to the one you had initially prepared for. A lot of change is on the horizon, and as with any multi-year degree, there are going to be situational and legislative changes that will impact your experience moving forward.
Changes in Healthcare Affordability
Australia is known as a strong benchmark for quality healthcare in the world, and when compared to other Western countries, it’s not hard to see why. This is in large part due to the Medicare system, which has allowed many Australians access to reliable healthcare that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. However, whilst this is an excellent system in many ways, it is by no means a perfect one, and there are justified calls from those who are still being impacted by gap fees and other expenses to solve the growing issue of out-of-pocket payments in some areas of healthcare.
In terms of OECD countries, Australians are paying more for healthcare than many of their contemporaries, and with the past few years seeing an upheaval in people’s financial situations, this is an issue worth addressing. However, for graduates, whether healthcare gets more affordable or more expensive, these changes are likely to shift the way in which medical institutions operate in terms of the systems being used and the processes they will have to go through with new patients. So, as you’re reaching employment within your field, make sure that you pay attention to the current situation in terms of government payment schemes and rebates to ensure you have the right information on hand.
Closing the Gaps
At this point, the fact that there is a healthcare gap is by no means surprising. Whether it be differences in obesity and diabetes statistics between socioeconomic groups or differences in reliable healthcare access between indigenous and non-indigenous populations, there has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how to make Australia’s healthcare system more accessible. It is important to note here that the healthcare system is a larger network than simply who ends up in the hospital and will include efforts to ensure that people have access to information, healthcare plans, and the support they need to make positive health decisions.
If you’re looking to make an impact in your local community as a healthcare worker, it’s important to research and understand the issues within that community, so you are best prepared to handle them. Familiarise yourself with deductions and current government schemes to allow low-income families and those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to medical services the support they need. That way, as the government brings out plans to support these groups, you can disseminate that information quickly and effectively.
Prevention Vs Alleviation
Healthcare is a complex and often difficult process to pin down. This is because certain conditions and issues can have myriad factors as their root cause, leading to healthcare often focusing on symptom alleviation rather than looking into the underlying health problems that led to them. However, over the past decade, more research has suggested that preventative care is not only more effective for many conditions, but it’s also cheaper in the long run than simply providing catered solutions for each symptom that arises in a patient.
This change in methodology may seem small, but for those entering the healthcare field now, the adoption of more holistic care disciplines would be an enormous shift in expectations and what doctors are expected to look for in their patients. This will obviously take a lot of time, and as with most big shifts in healthcare, it will likely be many years before notable differences in methodology are fully adopted. However, by doing your research now and staying ahead of these shifts, you will be able to benefit yourself and your future patients far more effectively.
We can never be certain of what the future holds, especially in an industry as wide-reaching as healthcare. However, shifts are happening all the time, and if you stay on top of what people are asking for and what the research suggests, it will make it far easier to stay ahead of the game.