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Coming societal changes and how to adapt

The latest edition of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association’s (AHHA) peer-reviewed academic journal Australian Health Review has delved into the social developments that could influence the delivery of health services in the near future.

The work is based on megatrends that Ernst & Young highlighted in a report this year.

The journal's editor-in-chief, professor Gary Day, said these changes included a digitalised future and increased use of smartphone health apps, rising entrepreneurship, the more globalised marketplace, an increasingly urbanised world, resource consumption and increasing health expectations from a growing middle class, along with growing cost pressures.

Day said the health workforce would need a range of technical and personal skills, aside from clinical skills, to handle these challenges.

Alison Verhoeven, AHHA chief executive, said the first skill set the health workforce might need to adapt was the capacity to be innovative and flexible. “That's not as easy as it sounds,” Verhoeven said. “Many of us think we're innovative and flexible, but to be truly open to new ideas requires a little bit of a shift in thinking. An openness to change is a critical skill.”

Click to hear about particular skills that staff might need and what government education and health service providers should do to empower health professionals to adapt to change.

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