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THE HEALTH LANDSCAPE IN 2025
While the last decade has brought massive change to Australia, the confluence of the mega trends currently impacting our nation and the region will be transformative. The health landscape as we move towards 2025 will be impacted by these changes demographically, socially, technologically and generationally.
Within a decade, life expectancy at birth will be 10 years greater than it was in 1984, and the population aged over 85 will be five times larger than it was three decades ago.
Along with Australia’s population growth which is numerically at an all-time high, this ageing will place strains on the health and aged care system at a time when the workforce is also ageing. In 1970 there were 15 people in the working age population relative to each couple of retirement age while today this ratio has shrunk to less than 10 per retired couple and the labour shortfalls are even more acute in the health sector with its workforce age profile.
The global connectivity, cultural diversity, ongoing urbanisation and densification and population mobility which marks Australia will all continue to raise the role and influence Australia’s health sector has in the region. Emerging expectations and attitudes that coincide with these transformative social shifts will have a significant impact on the demand and delivery of health services and research.
The future of the health landscape is shaped not just by demographic and social change but generational changes. The health sector is experiencing the biggest generational change since the birth of the post-war Baby Boomers – increasingly Baby Boomers are downshifting, Generation X and Y re the emerging managers, and Generation Z are today’s new health workforce. The need to train, recruit and retain the emerging generations is a key challenge facing the health sector and the next decade will see the biggest intergenerational leadership transfer the workforce has ever experienced.
Over the coming decades, the impact of technology in the research of the advancement of medical screening, diagnostics and treatment will see the potential for thousands of Australians to attain health measures never before achievable. The way in which patient information is stored, processed, and accessed will be a transformative shifts. Communication in these times of rapid technological transformation and message saturation will require new and engaging communication strategies.
While we cannot predict the future, we can identify the trends and respond to the emerging shifts taking place all around us. In so doing we can all implement strategic changes that will collectively shape the future of Australia’s health landscape.