Millions of Australians are heading towards retirement and a life as "grey nomads" without adequate electronic health applications to support them, according to Philip Cronin, general manager of Intel's Australia and New Zealand operations.
Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney today, Cronin said that in the next four years, 76 million baby boomers around the world will join the ranks of retirees."[That] may scare some of you in the room," Cronin said. Prompted by an audience member, he pointed out that when baby boomers retire in Australia, they'll buy a caravan and make their way out of the city.
"And where do they go?" he asked. "Anywhere but where there's a hospital!"
They are likely to make a "sea change" or "tree change", relocating to rural areas where healthcare resources are often scarce, according to Cronin. The strain of this influx will push the budget of regional healthcare to breaking point, he said.
"To satisfy that type of need, we will need to invent online healthcare. And why is that important? Because the public purse will not support 76 million people because if we do, we won't be doing anything else [in terms of public spending]," he said.
Intel Australia continues to pursue e-health, and recently participated in tele-health trials in the Hunter region. Elderly residents are given equipment to measure their own vital signs at home and transmit them to a registered nurse monitoring the incoming data.