Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Opportunities for Wisconsin companies

Employing more than 350,000 people across more than 2,000 service providers, elder care is one of Australia’s leading service sectors, generating almost $14 billion ($19 billion Australian) in revenue in 2015-16. According to the Intergenerational Report (2015), Australia’s population aged 65 years and over is expected to double in size over the next 40 years, from 3.6 million in 2014-15 to almost 9 million by 2054-55. As this demographic group grows, the landscape is also experiencing major shifts. Private providers of elder care services now dominate the market, and are the main recipients of new bed allocation funding. The market is also transitioning to a consumer-centric model, with elder care service providers looking for new and innovative solutions which make it possible for elderly Australians to age in place at home.

In response to these market shifts, the Australian government is investing heavily in new and improved infrastructure, allocating $59 billion ($78.6 billion Australian) to elder care from 2015-16 through 2019-20. Outside of the government supply channels, significant opportunities also exist for Wisconsin companies within the private sector. Private operators are increasingly looking to test and adopt new and improved patient care solutions that can differentiate their service offerings and provide a competitive advantage. For example, Anglican Care is using gaming technology to encourage physical activity among their residents.

Some recent examples of patient care solutions for the elder care sector include the following:

  • Telehealth: A national tele-monitoring initiative run by the CSIRO and its partners was found to have the potential to save $2.3 billion ($3 billion Australian) a year through reduced hospital and doctor visits.
  • Sensor Technology: In a joint project between Deakin University, Samsung Australia and the City of Greater Geelong (Victoria), a new monitoring device is being trialed to monitor the activity of the seniors and alert care providers to any changes in behavior patterns.
  • Smart Bidets: Researchers in HammondCare’s Dementia Centre are investigating the use of Smart Bidets and the impact of their use with people suffering from cognitive impairment and spinal cord injuries.

In general, public health care service providers such as New South Wales Health tender for goods and services over $189,000 ($250,000 Australian), whereas private sector companies tend to rely on existing supply networks and are not averse to sourcing from international suppliers.

Wisconsin companies looking to supply the Australian elder care sector are encouraged to:

  • review the profiles of Australia’s leading providers to identify any areas of opportunity or business process improvement;
  • consider partnering with a local company that has local market knowledge and an established presence in the industry;
  • attend industry events such as the LASA National Conference 2017 (October 15-18) and Australian Healthcare Week 2018 (March 21-23). By attending either of these events, Wisconsin companies will gain access to key players in the elder care sector and gain in-depth knowledge of local market conditions and trends.