Two things Roy doesn’t see changing are governments continuing to fund a universal healthcare system and the public continuing to hold medical professionals in high esteem.
“Having an economic ecosystem that is in part funded by tax revenue means healthcare businesses aren’t as exposed to Darwinian competition,” he says.
This means healthcare business owners – and their staff – have traditionally had the luxury of some breathing space. But Roy warns that “transformative change isn’t just looming, it’s arrived.”
Subhead: Health costs will continue rising, medicos’ fees won’t
An ageing, longer-living population, the growing impact of lifestyle diseases and the development of medical procedures, prescription drugs and medical technologies means healthcare in its current state is becoming costlier to society.
There are two things health insurers and governments can generally do to keep health budgets under control: ask patients to pay more or pay healthcare providers less.
As has been well-publicised, federal governments have, with varying levels of success, tried both approaches: through attempting to introduce a GP co-payment; freezing Medicare rebates and favouring non-elective surgeries.
Meanwhile, rising private health insurance premiums have recently resulted in a growing number of consumers cancelling or downgrading their health insurance.
Subhead: The future is high volume, low margin
A professional could halve their fees and maintain their income, as long as they’re able to double the number of customers they service. That’s the approach Roy suggests could be increasingly embraced in the future.
“Look at the I-MED Network,” says Roy. “It has invested in technology such as state-of-the-art PET/CT scanners that more efficiently identify tumours and evaluate the effectiveness of cancer treatments.”
It’s not hard to envisage a future where healthcare businesses generate as much revenue as they do now, and possibly significantly more, by harnessing automation to ramp up patient throughput. But this will go hand-in-hand with better healthcare outcomes.
Read the full article here: www.macquarie.com/health