By 2022, the value of the South African healthcare market was predicted to reach over R681 billion, and this is expected to rise to over R865 billion by 2027. As both the public and private sectors strive towards improved access and quality of care for the country’s growing population, the digitalisation of the healthcare industry has risen to prominence. ICT is now the critical driver of business and innovation, opening up new and different opportunities for people with tech skills.
According to Deon Myburgh, ICT Infrastructure Manager at Mediclinic Southern Africa with over 20 years of industry experience, this evolution has made healthcare the most exciting and interesting sector for today’s tech workers. “There’s nowhere else that you are going to find better challenges to learn, hone your skills and build your career in tech,” Myburgh says. “Healthcare is an exceedingly complex environment demanding a blend of legacy and emerging tech skills. The raw potential of emerging technologies such as AI, Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Software as Medical Device (SaMD), blockchain and data lakes is staggering. The demands for data protection, compliance and security are at the top of the charts. And there’s an extraordinary fulfilment that comes with knowing that what we do each day improves and enhances the experiences of people when they are at their most vulnerable. It’s world-changing work that attracts the type of tech worker who wants to make a difference.”
The scope of digitalisation in healthcare is limitless, encompassing everything from the development of consumer-facing apps and booking platforms, the modernisation of all business operations, the continual integration of medical devices and the building of vast healthcare information exchanges providing patients, practitioners, insurers, and regulators with the same seamless, real-time single view.
Healthcare providers face the challenges of integrating emerging technologies such as wearables, mHealth, digital health solutions and telemedicine with complicated legacy systems. Myburgh says, “The modern consumer has expectations shaped by the top digital service providers in their lives. They want ease, convenience, and speed. These demands present particular challenges in the healthcare sector which is governed by regulations, and our tech teams are driving industry-wide changes that are paving a different and better future for healthcare.”
Healthcare offers real exposure to new technologies
The transformational power of any emerging technology must be deeply understood, as well as how to adapt it to business needs and integrate it with existing systems. For this reason, tech workers in healthcare need to have strong legacy skills as well as emerging tech competence. Myburgh further adds that Artificial intelligence and machine learning are currently the most popular emerging technologies in healthcare worldwide. There are incredible benefits to automating mundane, manual processes and freeing up core resources. Also with its capacities to analyse images such as X-ray and MRI scans, AI has impressive potential when it comes to predicting, diagnosing, monitoring, and treating patients more effortlessly and optimally.
Myburgh concludes, “Today’s healthcare tech workers can expect fantastic opportunities to grapple with new technologies on an ongoing basis. You can certainly build a career quickly because there’s wide exposure and many growth opportunities within Mediclinic’s ICT environment, which includes our international footprint. However, you need to be an agile collaborator, capable of cross-pollinating and cross-skilling. We’re changing patient experience for the better, for the future, and this context raises the bar when it comes to the calibre of tech workers we attract and retain.”