Health tech contributes $1.3b, 'major growth potential'

The health tech sector spent $129 million on research and development last year. Photo / Getty
The health tech sector spent $129 million on research and development last year. Photo / Getty

The health technology sector turned over $1.3 billion last year according to a review of the industry published today.

The New Zealand Health Technology Review says the majority of companies operate from Auckland and Christchurch and there is potential for major growth in exports.

New Zealand Health IT (NZHIT) chief executive Scott Arrol said the healthcare sector had the fastest growth in IT spending in New Zealand, at 5.5 per cent a year.

"NZ health IT companies have only been exporting for around 15 years and we are now seeing major growth potential as global investors are turning to developed countries that are committed to and can demonstrate continuous innovation," Arrol said.

The review shows that medical device companies contribute $996 million to the New Zealand economy whilst health IT companies contribute $321 million - however, health IT companies have reported the largest average revenue growth at 35 percent.

Health IT companies can generally reach the market faster than their medical device counterparts but also have to navigate complex privacy, security and regulatory hurdles.

Doing so requires advanced levels of capability and specialised skills, Arrol says.

"For health IT systems to deliver meaningful impacts on patient care it is crucial that health tech companies collaborate with decision makers in the health system. Collectively we want to grow the New Zealand economy and be a key enabler to the provision of precision health care to people."

The health tech sector spent $129 million on research and development - $60 million for health IT and $69 million for devices - with 83 per cent spent domestically. The review says it is encouraging that the government's committed to provide funding for more health research at $97 million.

The report was jointly commissioned by the Medical Technology Association of New Zealand, NZHIT, the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies and released today during the sixth NZ Healthcare Congress.

- NZ Herald

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