This study adopted a two‑pronged approach to investigate the contribution of Australia’s creative capability in assisting the healthcare system to provide health goods and services and to meet its challenges through innovation and change. First, we examined the census data for creative occupations within the healthcare system. Because the census data reveal only certain parts of the story and in particular because data on creative occupations involved in the external supply of goods and services to the healthcare sector were not available from this source, the second prong comprised interview-based case studies of those occupations and of creative activities within the system. We selected the case studies after taking into account major health expenditure areas, the creative occupations and some key healthcare issues.
An estimated 3,810 people were employed in creative occupations in the healthcare sector in 2006, which is equivalent to about 0.5% of total employment in the sector. This was lower than the average proportion (2%) of creatives in other non‑creative industries. However, employment in health creative occupations grew 2.5 times faster than the health sector. We found Software and Advertising and Marketing to be the two largest sectors, comprising about 38% and 25% respectively of the total healthcare creative occupations in 2006, followed by Publishing, Printing and Writing (about 18%) and Architecture, Design and Visual Arts (12%). The remaining sectors are much smaller.