On Our Agenda: Looking Towards the Future of Healthcare

Looking Towards the Future of Healthcare

First published on Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin – August 6th, 2015

Photo by Daniel Frank  on Unsplash


Technology company Polycom conducted a survey of over 1,200 healthcare professionals between October 2014 – April 2015. The respondents were asked about what they believed were the greatest challenges to the future of healthcare. While funding and access to healthcare were clear leaders in current challenges to healthcare, North American respondents indicated that the heavy demand on health service infrastructure was the biggest strain on their own industry. To overcome these healthcare bottlenecks by 2025, technology developments such as mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, will play a critical role.

So how to we get to where we need to be in a decade’s time?

Assessment: Where are we now?

Healthcare professionals globally are convinced that technology, such as personal health monitoring devices and video collaboration solutions, will play a vital role in creating a positive healthcare future. According to the survey, by 2025 primary care will be accessible to all citizens, regardless of distance thanks to the increased availability of broadband, mobile devices and applications.

“Incorporating technology like video into the delivery of healthcare services will be critical in creating a positive healthcare future globally. For instance, services such as virtual consultations and remote monitoring, mentioned in participant responses, can enable nations to make healthcare accessible to almost everyone. This will be vital in tackling many of the challenges that will impact the industry over the coming years,” said Ron Emerson, Global Director, Healthcare at Polycom.

Additionally, 63% of respondents agreed that virtual healthcare services to homes will be a realistic scenario in 2025 due to technology advancements. These would include virtual outpatient services, as well as remote diagnosis for the elderly and physically disabled, amongst others.

“For healthcare providers, video-enabled care delivery makes strategic and financial sense. For patients, it puts management of their health back in their own control, reducing unnecessary travel time and expenditure. Likewise, for medical professionals, collaboration technology can provide opportunities in coordinated care delivery, peer consultations, and continuing medical education.”

We have already seen the enthusiasm behind telehealth and mhealth being rolled out in Australia through rural consultations from GP surgeries and regional hospitals. It’s a crucial part of our healthcare infrastructure in a place as geographically large and diverse as Australia…