Future health megatrends

Future health megatrends

Cooee July 2016 Megatrends Holoportation

The world of work is changing and the health sector is no exception.

As members of the future health workforce, it is worth reflecting on the forces that are driving change and what this may mean for you.

The following megatrends were recently analysed by the Australian Health Review:


Rising entrepreneurship

New technologies and inventions will drive diagnoses, treatments and consumer connectedness, while at the same time creating challenges for managers and policy makers from a cost, standards and regulation perspective. Hologram House Call anyone?

A global marketplace

From a health perspective, a more globalised marketplace will impact on workforce diversity, role substitution and new roles for healthcare professionals. This will raise issues around recruitment, minimum standards and competencies. See WHO cares.

An increasing urbanised world

Australian cities will continue to rapidly grow. Further urbanisation and its associated infrastructure will amplify challenges in providing access to health services in non-urban, rural and remote populations.  The National Rural Health Alliance has costed Australia’s current rural health gap.

Health consumers

Australia’s growing middle class comes with higher consumer expectations. This places greater pressure on accessible health service provision and will impact on the cost of health care. See Reform of Federation White Paper.

Re-imagined health

Increasing cost pressures and finite budgets will create opportunities for transformational change in how healthcare is delivered. Health service redesign might seek alternative solutions to chronic disease management through an increase in community based and integrated care models to take pressure from expensive acute hospital services. Expanded use of genome technology will produce more targeted and personalised healthcare, as well as population-based approached to healthcare delivery.

The future health workforce

It has been suggested that the health workforce will need a range of technical and personal skills, as well as clinical skills, to meet the changes described above.

According to the Australian Health Review, health professionals will need to:

  • Embrace rapid change and dealing with ambiguity
  • Be technologically savvy
  • Have advanced data analysis and interpretation skills
  • Shift thinking from illness to wellness
  • Move from an acute care focus to prevention and community patient-centred health services
  • Promote care models emphasising greater community integration for chronic disease management and intermediate long-term care
  • Adapt to digital ‘relationships’ with patients
  • Explore expanded and changed professional roles

What are your thoughts on the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead? Let us know your thoughts by email nrshn@rhwa.org.au