Some of Medibank Private's most senior executives have outlined their thoughts on healthcare trends that will continue to emerge in 2020.
CEO Craig Drummond says the health system will become less hospital-centric and other models of care will continue to become more commonplace and accepted.
"It’s unsustainable to keep building hospitals when there are other more cost-effective options that can deliver the same or better health outcomes," he says.
"In-home care is a more affordable way to deliver care and it is often preferred by patients, so changing funding to become patient-centred rather than care setting centred is critical, as currently health insurers are generally prevented from funding care outside the hospital."
The company's head of healthcare and strategy, Dr Andrew Wilson, says the insurer is currently focused on building Australia’s largest ‘virtual hospital’ - a group of programs and services that bring hospital care into customers’ homes.
"We will be scaling up our joint replacement short stay project so that more customers can get home either on the same day or soon after following a hip or knee replacement surgery. Where clinically appropriate, post-operative recovery and rehabilitation programs are then delivered at the customer’s home by clinicians," says Dr Wilson.
Chief customer officer David Koczkar is predicting customers will increasingly turn to more personalised support when it comes to achieving their health goals.
He says, "There will be a greater focus on preventative health, as well as giving customer more choice of health solutions to better meet their individual needs, including where they receive their treatment."
John Goodall, Medibanks's head of technology and operations, says the push for more personalised support and in-home services will drive demand for technology.
"I’m hopeful that in 2020 we will see much needed innovation, not only in the applications and devices required to deliver those services but also in the way we integrate all of those technologies, so that a holistic view of the patient is maintained and considered in every interaction," he says.
Mental health will remain a significant focus, according to chief medical officer Dr Linda Swan. "Acute mental health care has been traditionally institutionalised, but this is not always an effective way from both a care and cost point of view. We need to look at treatment in alternative settings such as community care or care in the home," she says.