Digital Health

$5B in annual savings identified through better healthcare digitisation


The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) says the Productivity Commission’s report on digital technology in healthcare released this week clearly articulates the potential for digital health to deliver a more connected and efficient healthcare system and reinforces the need for continued investment in the digital health ecosystem.

The Productivity Commission paper – leveraging digital technology in healthcare – identified the potential of digital technology as a way to generate cost savings and reduce the growing fiscal burden of healthcare spending. It concludes that better integrating digital technology could save more than $5 billion a year.

It follows the Productivity Commission last month releasing a report on advances in measuring healthcare productivity which found that Australia’s healthcare system delivered some of the best value for money in the world.

As part of the Productivity Commission’s consultation process in developing this paper, the DHCRC convened a roundtable with Commissioner Catherine de Fontenay, bringing together a number of our leading healthtech partners, including Alcidion,, Propel Health, Metluma Fivefaces, SiSU Health, and Telstra Health, to share frontline perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s burgeoning health tech sector.

“It is pleasing to see the Productivity Commission recognises the role digital innovations such as telehealth, digital therapeutics and remote patient monitoring are playing in transforming healthcare,” said DHCRC CEO Annette Schmiede.

“Our healthtech partners were unanimous in their view that while the explosion in digital technologies in healthcare had delivered many benefits to clinicians and patients, more strategic investment and regulation to make information sharing more seamless was needed to realise the full potential of digital health innovation.”

The report finds that despite making some progress, patient data is still very much fragmented and spread across different and disparate digital systems. Making digital patient information easier for clinicians to access and use, the Productivity Commission estimates, could save up to $5.4 billion per year by reducing the length of time patients spend in hospital, and $355 million in duplicated tests in the public hospital system alone.

AI and automation also present a major productivity opportunity for healthcare, with up to 30% of the tasks currently undertaken by the healthcare workforce having the potential to be automated using digital technology and artificial intelligence.

“Our experience from our breadth of research initiatives in partnership with the technology sector, healthcare industry and researchers show first-hand that more work is needed to make the large health data sets that currently exist in isolation, more compatible and accessible across the health system,” Ms Schmiede said.

“The message is clear throughout the report, more focused and targeted investment in data sharing and digital health will help both reduce healthcare spending and deliver better patient outcomes.”

Website | + posts

Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

Next Up