Australia’s healthcare sector faces different challenges from the realisation of new facilities to a shorter waiting time for people who require outpatient care. Financing seems to be a primary concern, despite $30 billion in additional funds from the government.
A report showed that striking a balance between good operating margins and providing quality service makes it more difficult for healthcare providers to roll out new building projects. Digitalisation has been expected to disrupt the industry coming into 2019, but many remain hesitant to integrate new technologies due to budget problems. Prefabrication can serve as a solution to this, but it requires careful planning and communication.
Bridging the Gap Between Funding and Construction
When choosing among different modular construction companies, it is better to contract a service provider that specialises in design-build projects on time and within budget. According to the report, the federal government plans to allot over $30 billion for public hospital projects over five years under the National Health Agreement.
The initiative will provide funds for new hospital projects for each state and territory, but it does not mean that all new developments will receive equal funding. This is where modular construction steps in to manage the associated costs for building projects, especially for those that need more than $500,000 for new or retrofitted facilities. Almost 50 per cent of the report’s 116 respondents indicated this amount as necessary to adopt healthcare digitalisation. Only 37 per cent of them said that they could incorporate digital tools into their services.
A Growing Population
Another reason why prefabrication may solve design and construction challenges involves a growing population. By 2050, the country’s population will increase to around 36 million people. This means that the demand for healthcare services will rise at the same time. Since building new facilities require time and effort, prefabricated buildings can save time and money for companies beginning from the planning stage.
In fact, making sure that Australia has a stable supply of hospitals and clinics is long overdue due to long waiting time experienced by patients anywhere in the country.
Long Waiting Time for Services
An analysis showed that many Australians wait for over 12 months before availing of public dental services. Patients in South Australia are more likely to wait longer than those in New South Wales. While dental services are not urgent compared to some elective procedures, half of all people who require the latter still wait for at least a month.
However, the vast demand for elective procedures may force public hospitals to prolong the necessary care for patients. The launch of new hospital projects, along with increasing staff numbers, should be a priority even for private hospitals.
The report might have only surveyed a small number of respondents, but it provided a glimpse of the challenges being faced by the industry. Prefabrication might not be the ultimate solution for launching new projects, but it would be a huge help for healthcare providers that need to deploy new facilities as soon as possible.