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Healthcare trends – what’s in store for 2019?

05 February 2019

As BDO Sydney’s Healthcare leader and with 2019 now underway – here are my top trends to watch within Australia’s healthcare sector.

Blockchain and wearables

Healthcare is in the process of significant disruption by advances in technology. Wearable technology can potentially revolutionize healthcare by unleashing the black box of data held by the human body. Blood pressure, sleep apnea, epilepsy, heart disease and diabetes are just some illnesses that could be monitored via digital technology. Similarly, it could provide more cost-effective health insurance plans based on your real-time data. The drawback is that with Internet of Things vulnerable to cyber security attacks and laws around data privacy increasing globally, the current situation is simply not safe enough. However, blockchain could change that. With thousands of computers agreeing on verification and storage of data in the chain, it’s much harder to hack. The big question of 2019 is - would you share your smartwatch data with your doctor?

AI helping to drive efficiencies

Investment in Healthcare related AI is increasing rapidly, helping to drive efficiencies and productivity increases particularly around repetitive and time-consuming tasks.  Areas to watch for the growing influence of AI in Healthcare include imaging, diagnostics, administration, scheduling and appointments, billing and at-home monitoring.

Aged Care Royal Commission

While 2018 was largely occupied with the financial services Royal Commission, 2019 marks the launch of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The investigation will cover health care shortfalls, poor record keeping and lack of support for medical staff. This is an opportunity to improve Australia’s system design as it deals with the ongoing issue of an ageing population and budget constraints. Stay tuned for the Royal Commission’s interim report to be provided by 31 October 2019.

Consolidation in an uncertain health economy

Within the Australian healthcare sector, we expect deal making to be particularly active over the medium term in order to reduce the burden of high costs such as technology adoption, high labour costs and infrastructure upgrades. BDO’s M&A Healthcare highlights has showed reasonably strong deal activity over a range of Healthcare verticals.  Healthcare continues to see a rise in valuation multiples (median industry EV/EBITDA multiple of 14.0x), supporting a positive industry outlook for 2019.

If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to email me at daniel.coote@bdo.com.au.