Turnover in the healthcare space has risen significantly compared to the same time last year, while service providers are speeding up their take-up of digital solutions to address a surge in patient demand and a lack of staff, an analysis of CBA healthcare spending data shows.

CommBank Health Chief Executive Officer Albert Naffah said access to high-quality health services and a shortfall in healthcare workers were key issues facing the sector.

In Australia, demand for healthcare has increased alongside a 12 per cent rise in turnover compared to the same period last year, while the number of transactions increased 13 per cent, new CommBank Health spending data reveals. When it comes to doctors and physicians, turnover has risen significantly by 26 per cent and the number of card transactions has increased 24 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

Mr Naffah said healthcare providers including general practices are turning to innovative digital solutions such as CommBank Smart Heath to respond to rising demand and prioritise patient experience.

“The healthcare skills shortage, and its impacts on both workers and the overall sector, present major challenges in Australia,” Mr Naffah said. “From a practitioner’s perspective, the skills shortage means there are fewer staff to provide care to patients.”

But there is light on the horizon. General practices are investing more in digital solutions and the automation of time-consuming administrative tasks, digital check-in and streamlining of bookings, payments and claims is freeing up valuable time for practitioners to focus on patients, Mr Naffah said.

“Patient satisfaction is at the centre and offering convenience and quality personalised end-to-end care is an essential part of it,” he said.

“Innovative solutions and technology can also contribute to the attractiveness of general practice for young doctors.

“Just as patients increasingly expect the convenience of digital services, healthcare professionals also expect workplaces to keep pace with modern, integrated solutions for practice management.”

Smart Health solutions helping healthcare to rise to patient demand

The recent CommBank GP Insights 2023 report revealed that around two-thirds of general practices plan to invest more in digital solutions to rise to patient demand for greater convenience and to manage operational and financial challenges.

The report also revealed that around 80 per cent of general practices in Australia are finding it difficult to recruit suitable GPs and this extends to nurses (74 per cent), specialist doctors (62 per cent) and practice managers (56 per cent).

While general practices are focusing on people and culture to attract and retain staff, just 26 per cent are planning to recruit more doctors.

Victoria leads demand for healthcare

A comparison of healthcare spending across the states shows Victoria in the lead, with spending rising by 18 per cent in metropolitan areas and 16 per cent in regional areas.

Spending in South Australia also grew significantly by around 15 per cent in metro areas and 17 per cent in regional areas. Growth in spending across metro and regional Queensland increased around 13 per cent, while in NSW spending increased 10 per cent in metro areas and 12 per cent in regional areas.

CommBank Smart Health is continuing to innovate, recently introducing on-the-spot processing for Medicare and private health insurance claims, as well as contactless claiming for patients with participating healthcare funds.

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