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How technology is helping solve healthcare's biggest challenges

Driven by fast-evolving technologies and the need for digital transformation, the Australian healthcare sector looks vastly different today than even a decade ago. With change comes new, often unexpected challenges. And many healthcare organisations are facing relentless waves of practice change while at the same time dealing with a skills shortage and the continued impact of recovering from a global pandemic.

Technology – particularly cloud-led tech – is one of the ways to alleviate the many challenges that healthcare organisations are facing. Let’s explore the state of the market and investigate just how a cloud solution such as Deloitte, enabled by Workday, can ease some of the issues currently burdening the industry.

Pressure is building on Australia’s health and wellbeing providers

In recent years there has been a collective realisation of the need to embrace a digital-first mentality. Across all industries, digital transformation has been a core focus to stay competitive, and healthcare organisations have invested in various back-office processes –  such as replacing traditional legacy systems with modern cloud-based solutions.

But digital transformation takes time, as well as a complete mindset shift towards digital. It also requires a robust and well-planned strategy to succeed, as well as the expertise to adopt the correct solutions for your needs. So it’s unsurprising that Australian healthcare providers are still juggling their day-to-day duties in the midst of growing pressures.

Health and wellbeing practitioners in Australia are facing challenges across nearly every facet of their working lives. Delays in accessing health and wellbeing services across the country have coincided with a marked rise in healthcare costs – much of which is rising at unsustainable rates. Supply chain and procurement have also been heavily affected by COVID-19, so without good governance many organisations are struggling to access what they need and to provide what they promise.

On the employee side, many healthcare workers are finding it impossible to do their jobs adequately thanks to ineffective and outdated systems, baked-in manual processes, as well as long-term challenges around the casual and sessional workforce. There are many other problems to dissect, and that’s not even touching on how these issues create knock-on issues for patients.

Recognising diversity is a fantastic thing, but with it, comes the challenge of ensuring appropriate and equitable access to all. Whether it’s delivering healthcare across rural and urban populations, ensuring quality care for all patients no matter their ethnicity or socio-economic backgrounds or different abilities, as well as providing patient choice, drives complexity in service delivery. This coupled with the post-covid need for a return to financial sustainability, which in itself has always been a perennial problem in healthcare, means putting more pressure into the system.

Wendy Lai, Partner – Deloitte Healthcare Industry Lead

The miracle of tech-led healthcare

Despite the sheer number of challenges impacting the Australian healthcare sector, technology is keeping pace and providing solutions to problems that have hamstrung providers for decades. Whether it’s a cloud-enabled solution such as Deloitte, enabled by Workday, that can transform a range of everyday processes for an entire hospital, or something as small as a helpful app on a patient’s phone – there is so much already happening in healthcare tech.

For instance, right now you can download an app on your smartphone that effectively makes all your GP visits virtual. In a primary care setting, most of what a provider is doing is very minimally diagnostic. They may take your blood pressure or monitor your heart rate, but these can effectively be replicated in the home – so long as a patient has access to the right equipment, which in this instance is a telemetry device. With widespread adoption, it could help countless patients who have struggled to make in-person GP visits, such as those who live in rural areas or the elderly who may have difficulty travelling. From the comfort of their smartphone, they can receive quality GP care remotely while freeing up healthcare workers.

Everyone is talking about ChatGPT, and this type of technology will also present  opportunities for healthcare. Clinical care involves diagnosis and interaction with the patient, which means that often note taking is conducted after the interaction. A solution like ChatGPT could co-create the notes, with the use of key words, voice enabled during the actual patient interaction. This could streamline and standardise reports, enhance the timeliness of these notes, while reducing the error rate. I think this would be another big breakthrough we are going to see.

Wendy Lai, Partner – Deloitte Healthcare Industry Lead

Where Workday finds its function in healthcare

No matter what industry, but especially in healthcare, the pandemic has taught us that some challenges can be completely unforeseen. Planning will only get you so far, whereas investing in your technology, especially through a cloud-enabled transformation with Workday, can help you break free from the rigidity of legacy, on-premises systems.

For the back-office, Workday integrates supply chain and procurement to cover healthcare organisations’ full source-to-pay lifecycle. It also brings together people, processes and data to enhance both clinical and operational effectiveness. On the employee side, Workday captures operational and people data, which can help organisations highlight the key moments that matter to their people so they can focus their efforts and make a difference.
The automation benefits of Workday, in particular, are of incredible value to healthcare providers. Not only does eliminating time-consuming and repetitive tasks free up healthcare workers to spend more time on client-facing duties, but it also enhances the patient experience. With less time spent on data entry and other tedious tasks, patients can get the treatment they need in a more timely fashion.