'We need to be courageous in trying new things'

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Medibank's head of healthcare and strategy Dr Andrew Wilson says a health system designed around the patient and their family would see more offered the opportunity to receive care in the home.

Dr Wilson said this requires an "appetite for change" from both patients and provider to move away from the traditional 'bricks and mortar' approach.

"Consumers have an appetite for change, but providers need greater incentives from funders – be that governments or private health insurers – to run healthcare in a way that puts patient needs first," said Dr Wilson.

He said Medibank has a clear strategy to deliver differentiated products and services for its customers.

In his recent presentation to the Morgan Stanley Private Healthcare Forum, Dr Wilson highlighted how the company is investing in strategic partnerships and businesses that will enable it to give customers more choice in how and where their care is delivered.

"By the end of last year, we were providing 384 virtual hospital beds each day, delivering care and support across Australia. More than 8,600 patients used one of our Medibank at Home in-home care programs or another of our pilot care programs in FY20," said Dr Wilson.

"We will continue to focus on partnerships with providers and clinicians; this is crucial. Both Medibank’s short-stay program and partnership with Calvary to jointly deliver My Home Hospital for the South Australian Government demonstrates our willingness to work in partnership with like-minded providers, and we will continue to take this approach."

"We need to be courageous in trying new things," continued Dr Wilson.

"There is scope to be bolder but innovation should be designed through a patient and provider lens. It’s vital that it is done safely, in line with clinical best practice and evidence, and delivers an optimal experience for patients and those that care for them.

"We are taking a long-term perspective to the complex challenges of declining overall health in the population, and increasing reliance on acute care. Even prior to COVID there was a need for change in healthcare in Australia.

"Affordability of private health insurance is a challenge, with premiums driven by health costs that are growing beyond CPI or wage growth. This is not sustainable for either the private or public system. The recognition of the need for long-term sustainability should be the greatest spur to innovation in healthcare in Australia," added Dr Wilson