RingCentral has just published a whitepaper highlighting the key trends for the education and healthcare sectors in Australia for 2023, and the impact that these will have on communications infrastructure and applications for organisations.
It’s interesting to see some common trends appearing across both sectors. Healthcare and education organisations have been amongst the most heavily impacted and disrupted over the last few years. Hospitals and healthcare providers have had to deal directly with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as adopt remote service models where possible. Educational institutions at all levels had to pivot rapidly to remote learning, and then deal with ongoing staff shortages and student issues.
However, this is a cloud with a definite silver lining. The changes forced on these two sectors have led to transformation that will have long-term benefits for the delivery of healthcare and education in Australia.
So what did we find when we examined the trends for 2023?
Adoption of remote service delivery models
This is the biggest and most obvious trend for 2023. In both education and healthcare, remote learning and telehealth have shown us how much more accessible we can make these services for those that need them. The Australian Government responded rapidly during the COVID-19 lockdowns to support telehealth with changes to the Medicare Benefits Scheme and, while access has been wound back post-COVID, there continues to be Medicare support for access to telehealth services for a range of out of hospital consultations. In tertiary education, students at both ends of the age spectrum are seeing the benefits of asynchronous, online or blended learning. Gen Z students have grown up in the online world and have just completed a portion of their high school years online, while mature age students are better able to balance their family and work commitments with completing their studies.
More focus on the patient, student and staff experience
Amongst the most under pressure sectors during the pandemic, the additional strain had a big impact on staff, patients and students across the board. As a result, customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) suffered. With many healthcare and education organisations adopting permanent hybrid environments for their staff and patients or students, we will see extra focus on CX and EX in 2023. In healthcare that’s playing out through the upcoming release of the Australian Government’s Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report and a major revamp of the primary care system, as well as the adoption of a range of technology-enabled improvements to the patient experience and a more employee-friendly work environment. In education, the adoption of hybrid learning platforms for a more consistent experience for both in-person and remote students and a focus on high-quality communications with students is taking the pressure off teaching staff and improving the student experience.
Rising mental health and social issues
In each sector, we are seeing a concerted effort to address peoples’ mental health needs and broader socio-economic pressures, and to maintain an environment and develop services to respond effectively. For example, in primary and secondary schools across Australia, a sharp rise in student school refusals has sparked an Australian Senate referral to the Education and Employment References Committee, so we expect to see some action on this and associated student well-being issues during 2023. In healthcare, the World Health Organization found that COVID-19 triggered a 25-percent spike in anxiety and depression around the world, and has led to longer-term mental and emotional issues for many people. Responding to this WHO report and other local findings, initiatives from the Australian Government are improving patient’s access to mental health professionals and care, regardless of where they live.
The increasing adoption of digital platforms in both healthcare and education and the necessity of delivering remote services in both sectors has given rise to some serious innovation that looks set to accelerate as we reap the benefits. Gamification in learning, including the take-up of VR technology, is having an impact on students particularly in secondary and tertiary education. In healthcare, there is a significant rise in the adoption of wearable devices for more proactive and preventative remote patient care and supportive self-monitoring of a range of chronic health conditions.
The switch to remote digital delivery models and hybrid working environments in both healthcare and education will bring about some fundamental changes in underlying platforms and operational structures in 2023. That includes the requirement for skills development amongst staff, particularly those on the frontline of service delivery, and the broader adoption of cloud-based and as-a-service technology solutions to increase the scale, flexibility and security needed to support more permanent digital service delivery models.
We delve a lot deeper into each of these trends in our March 2023 whitepaper, which you can find here: Australian Education and Healthcare Industry Trends in 2023.
Originally published 20 Mar, 2023, updated 30 Mar, 2023