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Opportunities in the Australian Health and Wellness Sector

27.11.2018
In 2015-16, total health expenditure in Australia reached A$170.4 billion (~€105.6 billion). The ratio of health expenditure to GDP has continued to increase gradually in Australia, reaching 10.3% in 2015-16. The growing Australian healthcare sector is being driven by a number of factors, most notably Australia's ageing population and the increasing occurrence of chronic and degenerative disease. The growing health-conscious sentiment of Australian consumers is also leading to wellness trends focused on improving lifestyle factors such as health, nutrition and mental wellbeing. Together, these factors are driving the demand and need for innovative, digital health technologies that benefit patient outcomes as well as improving the efficiency and efficacy of Australia's healthcare system.

Companies and sectors benefiting from this opportunity::

Based on our research, it appears that the following products, services and solutions will be in particular demand in the healthcare sector over the next five years:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Augmented & Virtual Reality
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)
  • Healthcare as a Service for Wellness: Health tracking, personalised lifestyle management and actionable insights & notifications
  • Hospital Design;
  • Prevention and Outcome based Healthcare Models: Increased consumer control of health and wellness
  • IoT Enabled/Connected Medical Devices: Wearables, personalised implants, bionics; and Smart Home Technologies: Telehealth, sensors, 24/7 monitoring devices. 

There are also an increased number of opportunities related specifically to aged care due to Australia's growing aged population. Examples of technologies relevant to the aged care subsector include:

  • Automated lighting
  • Diversional therapy
  • Fall detection sensors and alarms
  • Monitoring Systems
  • Wearable health monitoring devices.

According to Women's Health Magazine Australia, the renewed focus on self-care, exercise and nutrition in Australia means that the following wellness-related products and services are predicted to be in-demand:

  • Exercise: Strength training, tai chi, yoga, stretching;
  • Mental Wellbeing: Meditation, self-care retreats; and
  • Nutrition: Gut health, edible essential oils, superfoods, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.

Welltodo's 'The Australia Report: Wellness Trends, Growth and Market Opportunities' (December 2016) suggests that growing demand for other wellness products and services, e.g. health box subscription services such as GoodnessMe Box, wellness festivals/events, and wellness tourism, has been boosted by pro-wellness consumer sentiment and Australia's ageing population.

Team Finland activities available for Finnish companies:

A webinar will be arranged on the 16th of January at 9.00 (Finnish time) on Australian opportunities in the health sector. If you are interested, pls contact lilli.pukka@businessfinland.fi.

Read more health related information about Australia: Country one pager Australia

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The rising cost of healthcare in Australia also suggests that it will become increasingly difficult to finance current health systems and medical advances with public resources. According to the '2015 Intergenerational Report: Australia in 2055', the annual cost of health care is expected to increase significantly from ~A$2,830 (~€1,756) per person in 2015 to ~A$6,460 (~€4,008) per person by 2055.

The 2016 OECD Better Life Index indicated the majority of Australian citizens self-reported good physical, mental and social wellbeing, and Australia recorded an overall score of 9.5 out of a possible 10 points in the Health category. Health consciousness amongst the Australian population increased over the five years to 2017, with more Australian consumers becoming aware of the benefits of physical activity and increasingly taking up gym memberships (IbisWorld, November 2017).

The trend of Australian's prioritising their health and living a healthy lifestyle is forecast to continue, reflected in choices such as reducing alcohol consumption, healthier food and beverage decisions, and higher frequency of physical activity. Health-consciousness is driving consumers to seek natural and minimally processed foods and to reduce or avoid sugar consumption ('Health and Wellness in Australia', Euromonitor International). The Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey (2016) reinforces that Australian tastes are changing, with consumers increasingly seeking all-natural or 'super' foods. The majority of consumers surveyed as part of the study (59%) indicated they actively made dietary choices to prevent health conditions (e.g. obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension). Technology and digital connectivity is changing the Australian healthcare landscape for both patients and medical professionals, according to the 2018 KPMG Australia report 'Healthcare reimagined: Innovation trends, predictions and actions for healthcare leaders'.

Organisations operating in the Australian healthcare sector are also faced with the increasing complexity of changing regulatory requirements, fierce competition and rapidly emerging technologies. Changes to the healthcare ecosystem and operating models are creating new challenges regarding how to best deliver health outcomes and manage evolving customer needs, behaviours and treatments. According to the 2018 KPMG Australia report, key factors driving the need for advancement in the Australian healthcare sector include: •Technology Improvements: Expanding and improving data and technology to improve efficiency; •People & Needs: Demographic shifts and trends; •Consumerism: Patients and consumers demanding best-in-class service; •Market Forces: New entrants and incumbents leading to disruption and convergence; •Costs: Continued growth in healthcare expenditure is putting more pressure on the current system; and •Regulatory Reform: Policy and funding changes have the potential to accelerate innovation.

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