According to the latest Future Health Index (2018 FHI) report, in line with many developing markets such as Brazil, India and China, South Africa’s health system value measure is below the 16-country average.
Business Day reports that the third annual 2018 FHI, commissioned by Philips, introduces the value measure, as a new indicator of the value delivered by healthcare systems of developed and developing markets. The study combines criteria associated with healthcare efficiency, satisfaction and access to care to derive this value measure that provides a benchmark against which a health systems’ progress towards effective healthcare can be evaluated.
Below-average scores across all evaluated factors, directly translated into a low value measure of South African health, including access, in particular, low healthcare professional density and a large risk of impoverishing expenditure for surgical care, is hindering value the most.
There is a gap when it comes to healthcare professionals and the general populations’ perceptions of the healthcare available to them, as nearly half (45%) of the general population in South Africa agrees the healthcare available to them via the health system meets their needs, while only about one in three (30%) of healthcare professionals would say the same. Despite the perception gap, the overall satisfaction with the healthcare system rates below average.
South Africa also falls below the average when it comes to efficiency, as a result of above average healthcare spend as a percentage of gross domestic product, while obtaining below average health outcomes.
The report says a comparison of local findings to data from the other 15 countries highlights the crucial role that technologies can play in delivering more integrated and sustainable healthcare for connected care and digital tools. “One of the most important findings from the 2018 FHI is that countries with a high value measure tend to exhibit high levels of connected care technology adoption,” says Jasper Westerink, CEO of Philips Africa.
This indicates that integrating connected care technology into health systems can accelerate countries along the path to value-based healthcare.
In support of this belief, both the general population and healthcare professionals in South Africa see the importance of connected care technology in prevention (76% and 81%, respectively) and in population health overall (76% and 78% respectively), although the technology is still perceived to be under-utilised. “This is an opportunity for public and private sector alike to come together to bridge these value gaps, and ensure improved, and sustainable quality care across the region,” says Westerink in the report.
As the world stands at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, South Africa must critically consider what this era has to offer, and how new technologies could improve access, satisfaction and efficiency. “As technologies fuse, seamlessly bringing the best of the physical, digital and biological spheres together, our health systems can only benefit – as we’re already seeing in markets that lead the connected care age,” he says.
[link url="https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/healthcare/2018-11-26-new-fhi-study-reveals-connected-care-technology-could-be-the-missing-link-in-south-african-value-based-healthcare/"]Business Day report[/link]
[link url="https://www.futurehealthindex.com/report/2018/part/3/"]FHI 2018 report[/link]