Digital adoption is set to be an increasingly important solution to the productivity challenge healthcare systems face globally as they cater for increased demand.

Technology has transformed many aspects of our lives from the way we shop, communicate, work and bank.

But tech-focused growth capital fund Bailador Technology Investments (ASX:BTI) said there is still one crucial area, where technology could greatly improve efficiency and productivity for the benefit of all.

Bailador partner James Johnstone said demand for healthcare is increasing and will continue to do so with a growing ageing population, while medical professionals remain in short supply.

“You’ve got ageing demographics, lifestyle and other factors which means the population is experiencing greater need of care by the healthcare system and that is demographics driving the increase,” he said.

“The healthcare system is fundamentally reliant on wonderfully trained doctors, nurses, and medical professionals but there is a finite supply of them.

“We think it’s a case of humans and technology combining in unison to address the challenge and deliver great healthcare outcomes for patients.”

Bailador investing in health tech for future

Bailador has invested in three rapidly growing digital health businesses that aim to increase  productivity of medical professionals.

InstantScripts is a rapid digital prescription platform and telehealth consultation business.

“Rather than going into a GP clinic for a prescription for routine medication patients can utilise the InstantScripts website and app, “Johnstone said.

“You go through a questionnaire, your request is reviewed by a GP and then you select whether you want the medication dispensed to your home or pick it up at your local pharmacy.

“It enables people to obtain routine prescription medication in under an hour in an efficient and clinically responsibly way. This is convenient for the patient and also frees up GP’s to treat patients with more serious concerns.”

Access Telehealth offers in-person and telehealth care to three community groupings in Australia including regional communities, NDIS participants and aged care.

“Medical professionals remain in short supply, particularly in regional and remote areas,” Johnstone said.

He said Access Telehealth is particularly effective in aged care and it is here where in-person and telehealth combine.

“It’s a unique style of care that combines both a nurse and telehealth consultation enabling aged care residents to access a variety of care in a timelier and convenient manner,” he said.

Mosh is a digital healthcare service focused on men’s health across the areas or hair loss, weight management, sexual and mental health.

“These are topics are often taboo for men and Mosh offers discrete treatment plans that allow men to connect with practioners via its digital platform, thereby making treatments far more accessible,” Johnstone said.

He said the three businesses are leaders in their space and represent 15% of the Bailador portfolio.

He said they are growing rapidly, have yet to make a dent in their addressable market which keeps growing each year.

Growth of digital health

Johnstone said out of necessity the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a mass adoption of telehealth consultations.

“That was a massive catalyst for wider consumer and medical community acceptance,” he said.

A total $86.3m Covid-19 Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) telehealth services were delivered to 16.1m patients from March 2020 to December 2021 accounting for $4.4bn in Medicare payments.

“This represents approximately 2% of total healthcare spend and shows the growth available in telehealth,” Johnstone said.

He said furthermore healthcare businesses are likely to be shielded from the economic downturns given their demand is underpinned by structural demographics.

Tech enabled healthcare businesses also benefit from improved margins as technology enables stronger productivity.

GP shortage looming

Australia is heading for a significant undersupply of GPs by 2030,  according to a Deloitte report.

Furthermore, waiting times to see GPs are also high. InstantScripts completed a survey finding that 21% of Australians waited a week or longer to see a GP.

Wait times increased in regional areas where 29% waited longer than a week to see a GP.

There are 437 medical practitioners per 100,000 people in Australia but this decreases to 272 in outer regional areas and 264 in remote and very remote areas. Covid-19 disruptions further meant there were less doctors immigrating to Australia, adding to the shortage.

“Software is not going to replace our wonderful medical community, but it can help them address challenges and become more efficient and productive,” Johnstone said.

He said Bailador will continue to invest in digital healthcare and offers investors the opportunity to benefit from the early stages of digital disruption in the sector.

This article was developed in collaboration with Bailador Technology Investments, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.  

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.