It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come. A century ago, the average life expectancy in Australia was about 50 years. Today it’s closer to 80 and that’s in part thanks to technology. But despite our ability to innovate to bring about better outcomes for patient and industry, there remains uncertainty over how the sector prepares for a future in which technology becomes even more sophisticated and integrated into the patient-medical professional relationship.

According to research commissioned by Dell Technologies, there’s a disconnect between what these trends mean and our readiness for their disruption. The Vanson Bourne Realizing 2030 survey asked 3800 business leaders from around the world their forecasts for the next decade and discovered the challenges they face within the high-stakes health tech revolution.

Does healthcare really know what’s next?

Less than one quarter of healthcare business leaders globally are willing to put their hand up and call themselves “digital leaders”, while almost two thirds admit they are struggling to keep up with the relentless pace of change. The difference between the private and public healthcare is stark, with half of those in the private sector conceding that they are struggling, while in the public sector it’s almost two thirds.

In the healthcare sector in our region we uncovered uncertainty over how deep our love of wearables runs. Only just over half of business leaders across APJ (Asia Pacific and Japan) believe the next phase of human-machine partnerships will lead to people taking better care of themselves with healthcare tracking devices.

And even though more than three quarters of healthcare business leaders globally expect that humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organisations within five years, just over one quarter are already doing this. When you break it down between the private and public healthcare sectors, its 30 and 25 per cent respectively.

How do we map the path forward?

Why the concern about the ability to make the shift? Those working in the private healthcare sector cited lack of workforce readiness as the main reason, while that was only the second reason for the public sector. Their biggest hurdle was lack of a digital vision and strategy.

Uncertainty about how machine-human relationships will develop probably doesn’t help either. When the anxiety over human job losses butts up against the optimism that technology will solve our greatest health problems, it’s difficult for business leaders to formulate the plan they need.

But for healthcare, the cost of doing too little is too high. We’re entering an era of monumental change as our reliance on machines reaches new levels. Australian healthcare can’t risk moving too slow or not going deep enough to overcome these barriers to operating as a successful digital sector.

To ensure they keep pace, it’s imperative that Australian business leaders make plans to transform their IT in preparation for the future. Our study found that business leaders agree there’s a need for action. Many also agree on the most important steps to take, including securing employee buy-in on the transformation, making customer experience a boardroom concern, and aligning compensation, training and KPIs to a company’s digital goals and strategy.

The next step is finding the will to make it happen. With enormous change comes incredible opportunity. Australian organisations can either prepare for this new era and harness the immense possibilities, or risk being left behind.

Angela Fox is Leader, Commercial and Public Sector, for Dell EMC in Australia and New Zealand.





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