Long before the pandemic, Australia was experiencing a healthcare crisis. The introduction of COVID-19 did nothing but worsen, exacerbate, and emphasise the flaws in the system, particularly for front-line employees.
Despite the fact that Australia’s healthcare system appears to be among the best in the world, general practise has been struggling for a while due to a dismal system of funding and compensation that neither benefits practitioners nor patients in the evolving field of care and treatment. The days of the “jellybean” GP are over as a result of the challenges associated with operating a healthcare business and the costs involved.
The operational problems with practise management may be partially resolved by corporatization, but it is unable to address the persistent decline in the number of doctors. Only around 15% of graduates continue into general practise, a decrease over the past ten years in the number of graduates choosing different specialties. In recent years, pandemic border restrictions have also led to a decline in the number of general practitioners (GPs), disrupting the regular flow of interstate and international specialists. The situation is substantially worse in the rural communities.
Overall, the specialisation is no longer appealing; GP burnout and a reduced ability to offer treatment are both consequences of the greater administrative burden, longer hours, unrelenting workloads, and more patients. Fundamentally, for many people, there is no longer any joy in it, so it is not surprising that there are at least 10 speciality grads for every GP graduate.
The health IT sector has been expanding while the conventional brick and mortar healthcare model slowly disintegrates. The possibility to tackle many of the problems with the present model of care is provided by virtual healthcare. The silver lining to the entire problem could be increased knowledge and education about telehealth services.
The remote and rural population benefit greatly from the digital-first approach because it makes interdisciplinary and team-based treatment accessible and provides opportunities for professionals without requiring them to work together in the same places.
Through more patient access and more interactions, virtual healthcare services enable a somewhat more optimised approach to patient care. Additionally, it is simpler to enable interdisciplinary and preventative care systems that were previously inaccessible to general practitioners. Funding is a crucial component of the puzzle. The Medicare telehealth legislation has changed over the course of the pandemic, and thus continual creative leadership and models are required to promote digital health while safeguarding the GP profession and the medical worldview as a whole.
The fact that virtual healthcare models provide the choice and convenience that the private sector has enjoyed, allowing doctors to select where and when they work, may be one of the most important advantages of these models. Tech advancements can strengthen medical professionals and help them maintain a better work-life balance by reducing burnout. To transform telehealth models into legitimate practises, the next step is to make sure that nursing, practise management, and medical support activities are also effectively integrated into them.
Innovation in the field of virtual healthcare provides a wealth of advantages and solutions for both the well-being of the healthcare providers and the system’s flaws. The implementation of innovative systems will inevitably draw young medical professionals, luring fresh talent back toward the crucial area of the healthcare system. Additionally, it provides a better user and operator interface, allowing the current employees to find a balance between in-person care and digital care while also enjoying and being passionate about their work and professions.