Offering insight into the future of healthcare in SA, the eighth annual Future Health Index report indicates that healthcare leaders and younger healthcare professionals believe new care delivery models will increase the affordability of health for patients while offering better outcomes and greater patient choice.
It’s no surprise that the recently released 2023 Philips Future Health Index (FHI) report found the healthcare landscape in SA to be grappling with significant challenges. With SA’s public health system under strain, SA healthcare leaders and younger healthcare professionals see several challenges impeding progress to an effective healthcare ecosystem. Both healthcare leaders (23%) and younger healthcare professionals (20%) were most likely to select infrastructure issues as the number one technology challenge that needs to be solved to make the healthcare ecosystem work successfully. But South Africans are not letting current realities hinder their vision for the future. “We know that the best possible outcomes for patients are centred on receiving the right care at the right time, in the right place. That means, we can no longer focus on realising quality care in formal hospital settings, within specific siloed departments, or through dated technology. This legacy approach to health does not deliver the level of care we need,” said Philips Southern Africa’s managing director, Romulen Pillay.
BRINGING HEALTHCARE CLOSER TO THE PATIENT
Virtual care, particularly in the form of telehealth and remote patient monitoring, stands out as a central focus for healthcare leaders in SA. Both established leaders and emerging professionals recognise the importance of leveraging technology to ensure more accessible and patient-centric care. Investment in remote patient monitoring solutions is a priority, with 43% of healthcare leaders currently engaging in such initiatives – a figure higher than the global average of 28%.
CLOSING THE TECHNOLOGY GAP TO MEET WORKFORCE NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS
The pressing issue of workforce shortages in the SA healthcare sector is being addressed through digital health technology, with around 44% of healthcare leaders actively employing or planning to use digital health solutions to mitigate the impact of staffing deficits. The report reveals that technology is a pivotal factor for younger healthcare professionals when considering employment opportunities, with factors such as access to AI in healthcare and availability of technology for daily tasks shaping their choices.
PARTNERING ACROSS THE HEALTHCARE ECOSYSTEM
Collaborations among providers are becoming more critical to deliver comprehensive and sustainable patient care across various settings. SA healthcare leaders are notably engaging with health technology and data providers, with 36% forming partnerships with the former and 30% with the latter. Younger healthcare professionals are also recognising the importance of such collaborations, with 44% advocating for partnerships with health technology companies in the coming three years. The report’s findings, based on research involving nearly 3 000 healthcare leaders and young professionals across 14 countries. To access the full report, visit https://bit.ly/FHISA23