21 November 2023

Scaling virtual healthcare to help solve our capacity crisis

The health sector is facing a growing gap between demand and capacity. In mid-2023 TSA led a cross-industry, international study tour to examine how Australia and New Zealand could learn from virtual care leaders around the world.

The study looked at 24 programs across 6 countries, with the aim of understanding how we can rapidly scale the virtual care work currently underway in our part of the world. The team – brought together from across the health, architecture and technology sectors – has now released its findings in the paper ‘Care is Care’.

The paper spotlights 5 key findings that would help Australia and New Zealand build on the work currently underway, and scale it into national and interconnected systems. This would allow Australia and New Zealand’s health sectors to move toward a sustainable future. This is a future where a more resilient workforce, with a lighter physical footprint, can serve growing demand, and where patients can equitably access high-quality and timely care.

Read the Care is Care paper now.

Summary of our five key findings

  1. Innovation starts with just starting. Rather than trying to perfect a new idea from the outset, providers should start small by applying an end to end innovation process to prototype and assess new care approaches while simultaneously building the evidence base for the new practice.
  2. Next-level participatory design to deliver next-level outcomes. Embedding participatory design into core health strategies will likely lead to patients steering the design of their care toward options that avoid spending time in a hospital wherever possible.
  3. Data-informed, personalised, hybrid models of care. Virtual and physical care is not an either/or, but a hybrid of both. Optimal models are personalised for individual needs and preferences, with physical and virtual care delivered from the same location. This approach is particularly helpful for priority populations.
  4. An eye on prevention – integrating whole-of-person care. The move to digital tools enables better integrated health prevention and health care delivery, by engaging patients in prevention and wellbeing activities when they receive episodic care.
  5. The health workforce of the future – a reimagined multidisciplinary health care team. Innovation works best when data analytics experts and digital developers work alongside the specialists who front care delivery. This helps solve problems more quickly and iterate solutions. Additionally, a whole-of-system care team approach breaks down the siloes between primary, acute, community and social care to deliver connected and collaborative care. This has been shown to use resources more efficiently and effectively.

Read the Care is Care paper now.

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