With the global population aging, the amount of money nations spend on healthcare expenditures is also steadily increasing. Data released last year from the World Bank indicates that global healthcare spending has increased around the world. Of the industrialized nations, the United States spends the most per capita on healthcare with 17.1 percent of their GDP spent on healthcare. Canada spends 10.9 percent, Australia 9.4 percent, China 5.6 percent, Brazil 9.7 percent, Germany 11.3 percent, South Africa 8.9 percent, The United Kingdom 9.1 percent and Japan 10.3.
There is some indication that this trend is beginning to slow. But, with out-of-pocket expenses at a historic high, one may speculate that governmental expenditures are falling because they are passing more cost on to the patient. This year, the US is poised to spend $3.207 trillion dollars on healthcare. That is approximately $10,000 per citizen. Similarly, Canada is expected to spend $219.1 billion in the healthcare sector for 2015. Broken down, that is just over $6,000 dollars for every Canadian.
With most nations spending close to 10 percent of their GDP on health expenditures, finding ways to add efficiency and reduce healthcare costs, while also being environmentally conscious, are the key priorities of industry executives, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Technology has revolutionized communications and entertainment, and it’s also being used to enhance the healthcare sector. Biomedicine is one of the fastest growing industries in healthcare. Touting the ability to personalize healthcare like never before, biomedicines can be crafted for an individual patient. “A report for the BioIndustry Association showed there were 460 biotech drugs under development in the UK, up 15 percent from the previous year,” BBC reporter Hugh Pym wrote.
However, treatment is only one facet of the multi-trillion dollar global industry. Many start-up ventures are creating apps that have the capabilities of changing medicine and healthcare as we know it. Health monitoring in the home, using wristbands, laptops and smartphones offers the potential to change the way patients access healthcare. “The hospital of the future is in the home” Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director for NHS England, told the BBC. Keogh believes in a very near future, “people will wonder why previous generations paid for large buildings with beds in them.”
Toronto-based app innovator and entrepreneur, Andrew Matthews, is one of the people working to bring technological efficiency to the healthcare sector. President and founder of Toronto’s Spinach Solutions, Andrew Matthews explains how technology has been instrumental in revitalizing many global industries; therefore it is only natural that technology be applied to the healthcare sector as well.
Toronto’s Andrew Matthews is particularly interested in technology aimed at cutting hospital re-admittance rates, a very niche sector.
Every year on average, 180,000 Canadians are re-admitted to hospitals following a surgical procedure. That is a huge strain on the economy and on hospitals that are already stretched to their limits. Andrew Matthews’ app is designed to reduce the re-admittance rate while monitoring patients progress from home.
Earlier this year, Canada reached a milestone, having more citizens over the age of 65 than citizens 15 and younger. With healthcare spending directly related to the median age of a population, Canada’s healthcare expenditures are due to rise as Canada’s population continues to age, something that makes technological innovation and other efficiency-increasing measures all the more important.