Home research company Australia’s ‘invisible’ health tech companies call for procurement reform and sustained government investment in industry’s first survey

Australia’s ‘invisible’ health tech companies call for procurement reform and sustained government investment in industry’s first survey


After two years of a pandemic in which technology has underpinned Australia’s response to COVID-19, digital health companies have claimed the federal government is stifling innovation and called for reform of procurement processes, according to a new report by the umbrella organization representing the industry.


“Beyond The Pandemic – Future Proofing Australia’s Health Technology Industry” by the Medical Software Industry Association surveyed its members – which include 150 companies, from start-ups to large publicly listed entities – and found that two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) provided information related to the pandemic services.

However, companies overwhelmingly reported that the federal government stifles innovation (59%), while nearly 61% said international companies are favored over Australian companies in federal government contracts. More than half (53%) also consider government ICT procurement processes to be unfair and 74% believe they are not supported by government.


According to the report, which was released ahead of the federal budget and the upcoming election, health technologies have “replaced the stethoscope” as the most important tool in general practice.

Since March 2020, according to “Beyond The Pandemic”, more than 96 million telehealth services have been provided to more than 16.7 million patients. As of February 9, over 38 million e-prescriptions have been issued and over 62 million COVID-19 tests have been processed as of February 14.

The survey also found that 35% of respondents received government funding for pandemic-related work, but, of these, only 6% said it covered expenses. One claimed to have invested over $5 million in providing covid services.


“Over the past two years we have seen great improvements in the level of collaboration between industry and the Department of Health and the Australian Digital Health Agency and even Services Australia,” said MSIA CEO, Emma Hossack. Health Informatics News.

“However, from now on it is clear that unless industry is involved with government in designing a sustainable business case, all of this effort and the huge steps forward will have been of little use. lasting benefits for Australia.

“Things have worked so well in terms of implementing the technologies that have fueled the pandemic response that they should ideally bring them to the table. While there is a level of trust and partnership, we now have the opportunity to work out how we can work together to achieve a seamless transition to the healthcare system that Australia needs. But if the work isn’t done now, we’re unlikely to have that business case again. galvanized.


“Beyond the Pandemic” says MSIA members hold 95% of Australians’ health information in their systems, but these companies remain largely unrecognized.

“Health information and how it is collected, provided and stored is probably the most essential service used by Australians. Yet for the most part it is invisible,” he says.

Industry is asking for Medicare benefit schedules or other transaction payments for services to support the industry, which will in turn lead to cost benefits and better care outcomes, such as a reduction in medication errors.

The MSIA says adequate funding must also be provided to enable the thousands of health systems to be safely interconnected.

He calls for a “fair walk” in selling products to governments and vendors, saying there are “nine sets of requirements companies must manage to sell their software, which is costly for all parties, in particular to taxpayers”.

The report recommends the introduction of “a system in which guarantees are provided to match the balance sheets of big internationals who overprice contracts because they can bear the cost of future failures if things go wrong. big names don’t always match In 2018-19, Australian government spending on ICT goods and services exceeded $3.9 billion, so there is a lot at stake.”