E-health market set to grow as Australia ages: KPMG

Population living longer which would mean more health requirements, says KPMG partner

IT companies are been urged to look at opportunities in the e-health market as Australia faces an aging population over the next 10 years.

KPMG Australia partner, Bernard Salt, told delegates at Gartner’s Infrastructure, Operations and Data Centre Summit that as the baby boomer generation retires and lives longer, the requirement for e-health will rise.

“As of 2012, the average life expectancy for an Australia woman is 84 while for men it is 82 years,” Salt said. “The first baby boomer, born in 1946, turned 65 last year and this is a generation that expects to live a lifestyle in retirement that preceding generations did not.”

Baby boomers, said Salt, would demand the best healthcare available to them.

According to KPMG research, there were 230,000 extra jobs created in health and community services over the past three years.

Salt said that IT companies should “own the health space” as these services will keep growing in the next decade.

However, Salt added that the skills shortage may mean IT companies will not have the necessary amount of workers needed to take advantage of the e-health market. “Australians in their 20s and 30s are overseas and contributing to economies there so it’s critical we try to attract them back,” he said.

Also, KPMG digital business national managing partner, Malcolm Alder, previously pointed out that the infrastructure provided by the National Broadband Network (NBN) would deliver technological advances that could help aged care. Alder told Computerworld Australia last year that the NBN infrastructure could lead to the implementation of machine to machine (M2M) remote monitoring of elderly people who chose to live at home and may be alone.

"For example, if someone made a cup of tea in the morning and the kettle hasn't moved within an hour there could be an alarm that goes off and activates remote sensors in clothing," Alder said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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