Like many healthcare systems around the world, New Zealand’s healthcare system is also under immense pressure, plagued by clinician burnout, patient dissatisfaction, and rising costs. 

To reimagine the future of healthcare and build a sustainable system that can meet the challenges of the post-pandemic era, patients’ and clinicians’ voices (and frustrations) must be heard. The good news is, however, that both patients and clinicians hope for a common future. 

The Reimagining Better Healthcare report found patients desire more control over their health journeys but find it difficult to access the care they need in a siloed system, which is made up of many different clinician and specialist groups, departments and settings that don’t interact or seamlessly integrate. 

Their top priority is access to digital solutions that allow for earlier and faster detection, evaluation, and treatment of their health condition and/or potential health issues.

New Zealand clinicians, meanwhile, want to work in partnership with patients and 99% also believe that digital solutions that encourage collaboration between patients and care teams hold the key. 

They imagine a future where patients will play a more active role in an integrated care team experience; where clinicians work together across disciplines to address the entirety of a patient’s needs. 

For this to become a reality, we need a connected ecosystem of smart technology, where no matter the maker or operating system, medical devices will operate in harmony. 

Integration will enable clinicians to access and analyse patient data in real-time, supporting timely and efficient processing, and better patient communication and understanding.  

But there are significant barriers. 

New Zealand clinicians say they lack the communication, collaboration, and technology skills needed to incorporate the patient into the clinical process sooner, and 46% are not convinced they have access to electronic patient records in a timely manner. 

Post-pandemic, technological innovations continue to thrust the world forward at an unprecedented speed, and clinicians feel it is an uphill battle, constantly climbing the learning curve. 

Report findings suggest that 45% of New Zealand clinicians feel they do not receive adequate training (initially and ongoing) to use available medical technology to its full potential.

The lack of data interoperability (the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information) poses a significant barrier to achieving effective patient and care team partnerships. 

The current state of patient data collection is inefficient, with data collected from various devices and software that aren’t cohesive. This results in burnout and inefficient workflows for clinicians, who spend their time and energy, collecting and analysing data separately and frustration from patients.

Compounding the issue, 49% of New Zealand clinicians report that medical technologies within their departments do not seamlessly integrate with each other, necessitating manual data input. Patients echo these concerns, with 35% expressing worries about clinicians’ limited access to their relevant health data. 

The lack of data interoperability is a big headache for clinicians and hospitals.

It disrupts workflows and slows treatment. It impedes AI from unleashing public health insights, holistic patient data, and faster decision-making. The underutilisation of data impedes workflows and delays treatment, hampering both care teams and patients. 

Interoperability is critical to the future of healthcare, alongside inserting the patient into the formal clinical process sooner. Recently, a gathering of the world’s health technology assessment regulators in Adelaide agreed – among other measures – that the patient voice was severely lacking in the approvals process for lifesaving medicines and health technologies.

The post-pandemic era presents an exciting opportunity to shape a future, where healthcare leverages the power of interconnected technology and data. Removing the barriers our industry faces will deliver a more sustainable healthcare system where patients and clinicians are partners in navigating patient healthcare journeys together.

Amit Yadav is currently the CEO of global medical technology and digital solutions provider GE Healthcare in Australia and New Zealand. He has been with GE Healthcare for over 15 years, holding various positions, such as Chief Growth Office of ANZ; Commercial Excellence Leader of ASEAN, Korea, and ANZ; Executive Business Development Manager of ANZ.


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