Industry Outlook: Healthcare and Australian health management

Health care is Australia’s largest and fastest growing industry, with a significant number of new jobs added over the past decade.

Industry Outlook: Australian Health Management

Health services management in Australia is thriving, solidifying its position as the largest and fastest-growing industry in the country. Over the past decade, the sector has witnessed a substantial surge in new job opportunities, offering a promising outlook for aspiring healthcare professionals.

Australia boasts a world-class health system, built on the foundational principles of accessibility and empathetic patient care. The healthcare industry, being the largest in the nation, encompasses a vast array of services and facilities dedicated to the well-being of its citizens.

Continued growth and expenditure in health services management

Annual healthcare expenditure in Australia continues to rise each year with the Australian Government spending around $137.6 billion on health, aged care and support in the 2023-24 period.

Australia previously spent an estimated $220.9 billion on health goods and services in 2020–21 – which averages around $8,617 per person.

This substantial investment reflects the nation’s commitment to ensuring the health and welfare of its population.

The impact of an aging population on Australian health management

The healthcare market in Australia is facing significant challenges and opportunities due to the aging population. With the number of Australians aged 65 and over predicted to double and represent 23% of the country’s population by 2060-61, the demand for healthcare services will continue to surge (Royal Australian College of General Practitioners). This demographic shift will bring about changes in patient welfare and behaviour, requiring healthcare providers to adapt and respond effectively.

As the elderly population increases, there will be changing demand forces that healthcare systems need to address. Predicted health expenditure per person is expected to rise, with an expected increase from $3250 in 2018-19 to $3970 in 2031-32, and reaching $8700 in 2060-61 (adjusted for inflation). This rise in expenditure reflects the need for enhanced and specialised healthcare services to cater to the unique needs of the elderly population.

To navigate these changes successfully, the healthcare industry in Australia must embrace technological advancements, foster innovation, and invest in workforce training to meet the evolving demands of the aging population. Strengthening preventive care and community-based healthcare services can help manage healthcare costs and enhance patient outcomes. By proactively addressing these challenges, the healthcare market in Australia can position itself to provide high-quality care and support for the increasing number of elderly Australians.

Job opportunities in health services management

The healthcare industry in Australia offers abundant job opportunities, making it the largest employment sector in the country. According to Jobs and Skills, the health and social sector accounts for 15.6% of the Australian workforce, with over 2.2 million people employed in Health Care and Social Assistance roles. Notably, approximately 30% of this workforce is engaged in hospital-related positions, highlighting the significant contribution of hospitals to the healthcare job market.

With the sector’s continued growth and the increasing demand for healthcare services due to an aging population, the industry is projected to offer diverse job openings. The vast array of roles available includes medical and nursing positions and various administrative, managerial, and support functions crucial in ensuring healthcare facilities’ smooth functioning.

As technology plays a prominent role in healthcare delivery, there is a rising demand for professionals with expertise in health informatics, telemedicine, and digital health management. Furthermore, expanding community-based healthcare services and focusing on preventive care create additional opportunities for allied health professionals, social workers, and community health workers.

As the industry continues to evolve, individuals pursuing careers in healthcare can expect job stability and growth and the fulfilment of making a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

Technology that’s revolutionising healthcare

The Healthcare industry in Australia has undergone a significant transformation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for virtual care and e-commerce has experienced remarkable acceleration and is projected to grow. With the implementation of Government funding for Telehealth and the increased adoption of the COVIDSafe app, over 10 million consultations were conducted within just two months. This rapid adoption of telehealth services provided essential healthcare during the pandemic and catalysed a shift in mindsets towards embracing digital healthcare solutions.

The expansion of virtual care and e-commerce in the healthcare industry has brought unprecedented opportunities and challenges. Healthcare providers are increasingly embracing telehealth solutions to deliver remote medical consultations, which has improved accessibility to care, especially for patients in remote or underserved areas. Moreover, the surge in e-commerce has led to a more seamless and convenient patient experience, enabling them to access healthcare products, medications, and services online. However, this digital transformation also requires careful consideration of cybersecurity and data privacy to ensure the safe exchange of sensitive medical information. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and implement sweeping initiatives such as My Health Record, organisations will need to adapt to these changing dynamics to meet the growing expectations of patients and provide high-quality care in a digital era.

Regional demand for quality healthcare

The healthcare industry in rural and remote areas of Australia faces unique challenges due to the geographic location and diverse communities encompassing approximately 7 million people, constituting 28% of the Australian population. These individuals experience poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts, with higher hospitalisations, injuries, and mortality rates. Moreover, access to primary healthcare services in rural and remote regions is limited, posing additional barriers to adequate healthcare delivery.

To better understand the distribution of population and healthcare accessibility, the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure, based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia, classifies areas into five categories of relative remoteness:

  • The majority of Australians reside in major cities (72%),
  • followed by inner regional areas (18%),
  • outer regional areas (8.0%),
  • and smaller percentages in remote areas (1.1%)
  • and very remote areas (0.8%).

The healthcare industry in rural and remote areas is challenged to provide accessible and high-quality healthcare services to meet the diverse needs of their communities. Initiatives like telehealth and mobile healthcare units have been implemented to bridge the gap and improve healthcare access in these regions. However, addressing the disparities in healthcare outcomes requires ongoing efforts, including increased funding for rural healthcare infrastructure, recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals in these areas, and targeted health promotion and prevention programs. The focus on enhancing healthcare services in rural and remote regions is crucial to ensure equitable healthcare for all Australians, regardless of their geographic location.

Seizing the opportunity

There is a growing demand for skilled healthcare managers to meet the changes in the marketplace and the complex issues in healthcare today. The healthcare programs at QUT prepare graduates for leadership roles in healthcare organisations and equip them with the necessary skills to thrive in this dynamic and evolving sector. Enrol today to embrace a rewarding career in healthcare management and connect with Course Consultants to explore the range of possibilities available.

Meet the growing demand for skilled healthcare managers by enrolling in a Master of Health Management or a Graduate Diploma in Health Management today. You may also be interested in the Graduate Certificate in Health Services Management.

Apply today or book a call with one of our Course Consultants to discuss your options.

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