Innovation plays a significant role in the healthcare sector since it assists in developing new treatments which assist doctors in curing illnesses. Innovation is a crucial element which is necessary in the healthcare sector in order to adapt to epidemiological and demographical conditions. The innovation systems are promoted at a national and international level through public financed healthcare which is referred as an arena of academic researchers and entrepreneurship in medicine, medical technology and others (Thakur, Hsu and Fontenot, 2012). Furthermore, researchers are finding new diseases across the globe which is adversely affecting a large number of people due to the unavailability of the healthcare system. By relying on an innovative approach, many governmental and non-governmental organisations are finding new ways to treat diseases and avoiding them from spreading and affecting a large number of people. This report will focus on analysing the role of innovation in the healthcare sector and how it influences people on a global stage. Various examples of innovation in the healthcare sector will be discussed along with their procedures. Furthermore, legislation and regulations related to healthcare in Australia will be discussed which affect the operations of healthcare organisations.
Role of Innovation in Healthcare
Innovation has different meanings in several contexts of society. Generally, in political debates, parties provide that innovation is considered as a crucial element for welfare and growth of a country at national as well as international level. The example of Swedish industry is a good example since the country has been successful in terms of both pharmaceutical industries and medical technologies. Sweden is considered as an innovative nation since it has fostered products such as the Lexell gamma knife, the implantable pacemaker and Losex, Xylocaine (drugs) (Sandstrom, 2015). The country has been successful in developing medical technologies along with pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector with highly skilled and qualified professionals. Due to innovation, the developments in medical technology contribute to saving millions of lives each day.
The high dependability of doctors and medical professionals on highly advanced technologies which are available in healthcare today assist in understanding the importance of innovation in the sector. The global spending in the healthcare sector has reached $7.077 trillion in 2015, and it is expected to grow up to $8.734 trillion by 2020 (Dreamit, 2018). Due to big regulatory shocks, new market opportunities are creating for players to enter and establish their operations in the industry. The culture in the healthcare sector is increasing open for new innovations which assist in its growth. Healthcare professionals have always promoted the use of technologies in the medical facilities since they assist them in accurately understanding the situation of the patients which assist them in providing them appropriate advice (Poonen, 2018). The healthcare and technology industry are parallel with each other which healthcare professionals in finding new ways to improve their facilities and providing better services to patients.
Examples of Innovation
- Microchip Modelling Clinical Trials
This technology assists in improving and even transforming the current health care system because they provide significant opportunities for medical professionals. The object of this technology is to replace the use of animals in the clinical trials due to which most innovations failed since innovators did not get permission to test their theories on animals. Based on using this technology, the innovators assist in accurately testing the safety and efficacy of treatment of human patients which result in saving the lives of countless animals which are typically used for testing (Nwaete, 2017). By using this technology, researchers have been able to reconstruct various human organs such as lungs and other by focusing on the use of a system of microchips in order to emulate these bodily systems.
In the healthcare sector, the popularity of wearable technology has grown substantially which is used by both people and medical professionals. Individuals use wearable technologies to monitor factors such as heart rate, sugar level, steps taken, calories burned and others (Mimeo, 2017). These details are important for people who are suffering from diseases such as diabetes or heart-related diseases. Apple Watch and Fitbit are some of the technological innovations which assist individuals in becoming more active and learn about various factors which affect their body which result in improving their health. On the other hand, doctors also rely on wearable technologies in operations theatre or other locations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the data collected by them. For example, Dr Rafael Grossmann was the first doctor who used Google Glass while performing surgery, and he provided that it assisted him in accessing to information more quickly and meeting the needs of the patients (Garvin, 2013).
- 3D Printed Biological Materials
The 3D printing technology is continuously developing due to innovations in the sectors which also assist healthcare field. Many 3D printers are used by organisations to create objects such as prosthetic legs or arms which are cheaper and works effectively. Furthermore, due to innovations, the technology is making use of biological materials to create human organs (Ho et al., 2015). Although this technology is still in the beginning stage, however, soon it will be possible to create human organs through 3D printers.
Negative side of Innovation
In order to innovate and find new methods and technologies, researchers are required to test their theories and models in order to find out whether or not they work properly. It creates various ethical concerns since testing medicine of human could have disastrous effects which could result in losing the lives of many individuals. In order to avoid this issue, scientists test their products and technologies on animals (Birken, Lee and Weiner, 2012). However, this raises various ethical and moral queries from organisations such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). These organisations fight against protecting animals from the unethical behaviour of humans which also include banning of medical treatments. Thus, the process of innovating new medicines and technologies which assist medical professionals is difficult which result in adversely affecting the innovation process in the healthcare sector. Furthermore, many innovators are obsessed with competing ideas and breakthroughs that they did not see the negative side of their innovation (Burns, 2012). Although reliance on technology is significant, however, too much reliance on technology leads to negative consequences due to which parties suffer loss. Often industry players turn down new innovations because their implementations are too costly or because of their competitors’ activities.
It is common that technology stops working or malfunction; however, it could have catastrophic results in the healthcare industry because people could lose their lives if any machine malfunctions. Thus, thorough analysis of innovation is important before implementing it for the use of people by most innovators avoids doing so to save time or competitive with others. Medical professionals use sensors and other technologies for both diagnostics and prognostics, however, false data provided by these technologies could affect the way of treatment which could negatively affect the health of the patient (Doyle et al., 2013). Generally, innovations are treated like any other project and individuals focus on financial return on such projects which result in decreasing their effectiveness. Furthermore, fuelling innovation through traditional budgeting processes did not have a significant impact. One of the key reasons due to which medical innovations fail is the government regulations. The government has implemented various regulations which result in decreasing innovations in the healthcare sector (Essen and Lindblad, 2013). Due to these regulations, it is difficult for the innovators to test their innovations or find out whether they work or not due to strict legal policies. Although these policies are implemented by the government to protect people, however, they result in decreasing innovation in the healthcare industry.
In Australia, there are a number of legislation and regulations which governs the healthcare sector and result in affecting the procedure of healthcare organisations. There are various health care tribunals situated in Australia which governs the issues relating to healthcare in Australia. Parties can lodge health complaints in Australia in the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987 (Austlii, 2018a). Moreover, it has also established the Health Services Commissioner in Victoria which hears the issues linked with healthcare. The Medical Treatment Act 1988 promotes a parliamentary inquiry into various issues which are related to the treatment of dying patients. The Health Records Act 2001 is a creative framework which is established by the government in order to protect the privacy of individuals which are related to health information (Health, 2018). With the popularity of smartphone and other electronic devices, it becomes easier for corporations to collect health information from people. Thus, the legislation such as this results in protecting the privacy of individuals and avoids breaching their data.
However, the use of data also result in innovation the technology and finding new ways to address health-related issues and regulations such as this result in stopping companies from innovating new procedures which benefits people. Public Healthcare Amendment (Review) Act 2017 also provides provisions regarding a range of healthcare matters such as notifications relating to conditions and diseases along with regulating the areas which have the potential to adversely affect the health of individuals such as public swimming pools, drinking water, skin penetration and water cooling systems (Legislation, 2018). The amendment has made changes in the previous regulations of the Public Health Act 2010. The main objectives of this act are to protect and promote public health which controlling and eliminating factors which are a risk to public health. Tribunals are established throughout the country which hears matters relating to factors which affect the health of people. These tribunals hold such organisations or individuals liable who breaches these regulations and provide remedies to innocent individuals.
However, these regulations also result in reducing the innovation in the country since it corporations have to comply with a wide range of legal framework which increases the difficulties faced by them. On the other hand, the Australian government has implemented the ‘Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy 2016-2021’ which is focused towards promoting innovation in the healthcare sector in Australia (Health, 2016). The strategy is focused towards financing such organisations and individuals who are focused towards bringing change in the healthcare sector by changing the traditional approach by relying on modern technologies. The objective of this strategy is to promote the research in the field of healthcare by providing assistance to organisations. Thus, along with imposing restrictions, the government is also supporting innovation in the healthcare sector which benefits the organisations (O’Meara et al., 2012). Furthermore, the primary focus of these legislations and regulations is to provide safety to individuals and promoting improvements in the public health sector by relying on innovation.
From the above observations, it can be concluded that innovation has a substantial role in improving the procedures related to healthcare. The innovations in this field result in enable healthcare professionals in understanding the conditions of patients and providing them effective services. On the other hand, the innovative approach also assists in finding solutions to diseases which spread quickly and affect a large number of people due to lack of healthcare facilities. Various examples of innovations in the healthcare sectors are discussed in the report along with their influence such as 3D printing technology, wearable machines, and Microchip Modelling Clinical Trials. The negative impact of innovation in the healthcare sector and the factors which adversely affect innovative approach in the organisations are discussed in the report. Furthermore, the legislation in Australia which governs and influences the healthcare sector is discussed in the report. The role of government in promoting innovations in the healthcare sector of the country is also discussed in the report which benefits the public and sustains the health of individuals through innovations.
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