However, thanks to a combination of innovative technologies, and creative medical researchers all this is beginning to change.
Over the coming years, the way individuals access healthcare services and professionals will change considerably. Telstra’s chief scientist, Hugh Bradlow, has pinpointed five emerging trends that will change the way health will be managed.
1. Individuals will manage their own health records
By combining the results of medical tests with wellness data such as activity, diet and sleep quality, patients will have greater control of their health data and be able to shop around for experts to better manage their health and wellbeing.
2. Data and analytics will be used to improve personal and community health
With so much data being collected, it will be possible to aggregate it anonymously and conduct big data analysis that could be used to look at both broad population trends and improve diagnostics at the individual level.
3. Complex medical devices will be consumerised and commodified
Medical scientists are finding new ways to identify biological markers; for example, and in some cases, blood tests can be replaced by analysis of perspiration.
4. The cost of genome sequencing will plummet
When the first full human genome sequence was completed in 2000 it took about 10 years and cost about $3 billion, according to Bradlow. Today it costs just a few hundred dollars and can be done in hours.
5. Individuals will have access to health professionals independently of location
Continuous improvements in connectivity, communications tools such as high-resolution video-conferencing equipment and better medical measurement tools mean people will be able to choose their preferred healthcare provider regardless of location.
Pointing to a solution
Remote healthcare provision is already a reality for many Australians:
- Vital health data for patients with chronic conditions can now be tracked and shared directly with healthcare professionals using platforms such as MyHealthPoint and new measurement devices developed and/or integrated by Entra Health Systems. HCF, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Australia, has partnered with Telstra to offer services using MyHealthPoint to its members on the MyHealthGuardian program. Data from Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as glucometers, thermometers, blood pressure monitors and oximeters, which measure blood-oxygen levels, is gathered and tracked through the MyHealthPoint platform. This service empowers doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to remotely track patient progress and intervene to help prevent critical episodes.
- In mid-2015 Telstra Health will also launch ReadyCare, Australia’s first purpose-built 24/7 definitive telemedicine service for diagnosis, prescriptions, care and treatment.
Data and analytics is also being used to provide quality care:
- The Quality Investigator tool provides measurement, variation analysis and clinical benchmarking so health departments and hospitals can make data-driven decisions on patient care.
At Telstra Health we believe that every person of every age, and in every corner of Australia, should enjoy the best possible health care. We call it a brilliant connected healthcare future for everyone. That’s why we’re connecting patients, healthcare workers, hospitals, pharmacies and health funds to build a safer, more convenient way to manage our health – with patients at the centre.Find out more