A growing and ageing population, rising incidence of chronic disease, shifting patient expectations and the emergence of innovative technologies like robotics, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are straining current systems and creating an appetite for change.
To improve effectiveness and affordability while managing financial sustainability, healthcare providers are looking to offer more personalised, patient-centred care while shifting their approach from treatment to prevention and wellbeing. Decentralisation of care – a significant issue in Australia with its vast geography – holds great potential. So too does smarter, more informed, real-time decision-making around diagnosis and treatment.
There is an exponential growth in the speed with which potentially transformative solutions are coming into the market to address these challenges and opportunities. Edge computing, cloud, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics are becoming common place in the sector. Without finding ways to integrate medicine, data and technology providers will be left vulnerable to disengagement by patients and disruption by competitors.
Yet despite these reasons for action, there’s still much to be done to transform Australia’s healthcare system and save lives. Only a few years ago Accenture’s healthcare transformation survey reported that technology still represents an untapped catalyst in Australian healthcare, having not been invested in heavily or effectively.
The power of partnership
To effectively and efficiently deliver better patient care, healthcare providers are partnering beyond their sector. This means engaging in real-time, secure communications and data exchange with a myriad of business partners, health ecosystems and network/cloud providers – not to mention patients themselves.
This shift to greater decentralisation, consumerisation and personalisation in healthcare requires strategic planning and investment from the backend forward. Evidence shows that without the right supporting infrastructure digital investments are failing to deal with the explosion in data and deliver the type of user experience that patients and healthcare professionals expect.
Reliable, responsive, secure and open infrastructures are needed to allow providers to get the most out of their digital initiatives. Healthcare providers need appropriate access to leading cloud providers, network connectivity and bandwidth. They require uptime that supports mission-critical machinery and high levels of productivity, and data security that will let them deliver on governments’ and consumers’ privacy expectations.
Gaining an edge
We’re seeing increased demand from Australian healthcare providers for global Interconnection as one of the key foundational elements of their future digital footprint. Interconnection offers a secure, high-bandwidth connection with zero latency that bypasses the public Internet entirely, leading some to dub it the “the second internet.”
In Holland, Fysiologic, electrocardiogram (ECG) services specialists, utilised an interconnected hybrid cloud environment via Equinix and its partner Damecon to securely collect and analyse the heart data of more than one million patients in eight countries. That data was collected via the Internet of Things (IoT) and then shared with their doctors. By enabling computing of this data to happen securely at the edge – the point of initial data capture – providers can remove processing workload from the server side, reducing time and cost.
This kind of secure connectivity that enables direct private traffic exchange between key business partners in real-time, from any location, ensures that life-saving data and insights are delivered to the right people, at the right place, at the right time. A market study recently published by Equinix, predicts that global Interconnection growth in the healthcare and life sciences sector will increase 70 per cent over the next five years, driven by innovative healthcare initiatives such as Fysiologic’s.
As healthcare providers in Australia look to serve their customers consistently better and faster, we continue to invest in supporting their aspirations. Platform Equinix® is being consistently upgraded to bring healthcare providers closer to their patients, customers, suppliers, government departments and cloud providers. This enables them to create agile, cost-effective, digital-enabled services for personalised, outcome-based patient care that doesn’t compromise cybersecurity.
In Sydney we’ve launched our eighth data centre, named SY5 – a US$160 million (approximately A$224 million) investment for Equinix. In Perth, we’ve spent almost US$10 million (A$15 million) to expand our PE2 data centre over the past year, while in Melbourne we’re developing ME2, an initial investment of US$84 million (approximately A$117 million).
CEO of the Consumer Health Forum, consumer health advocate, Leanne Wells, recently stated that the time is ripe for Australian healthcare providers to leverage maturing digital technologies to deliver greater value to both consumers and providers. If done well, this integration of medicine and tech has the potential to enable “rapid enhancements in quality, safety, accessibility and efficiency,” says Wells.
We couldn’t agree more – and can’t wait to help the sector reach its potential. Through the power of connectivity and partnership, Australia’s healthcare providers can transform even more lives.
To learn more about what’s driving transformation in the Australian healthcare sector – including current and emerging opportunities – download the Health Outlook Report, prepared for Equinix by Frost & Sullivan.
This article was sponsored by Equinix Australia