Associate Professor Anna Barker, Executive Director Research and Innovation spoke during a plenary session at the Australian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM) annual congress recently.

The congress is a premier event for academics and industry leaders in the hospital, acute and complex end of the health spectrum.  It brought together those driving change to spark innovative thinking to create solutions across industry siloes. 

Silver Chain Group’s sponsorship of a session on Transformational Change in the health sector was an opportunity to engage with sector leaders and showcase how we are transforming our service delivery, our willingness to challenge the status quo and be agile in our response to new opportunities. 

During the session, Anna shared how Silver Chain seized opportunities to disrupt our ways of working as a positive out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anna highlighted the importance of being open to new ideas and insights, being confident to depart from standard practises to transform care delivery and being able to respond quickly to prospects within our networks and partnerships.

Anna showcased Silver Chain Group’s new in-home COVID-19 care program in Western Sydney, which is supported by teams nationally, and was stood up in just two weeks. The service supports remote monitoring of people that are COVID positive in partnership with the Western Sydney LHD with who we already partner to provide specialist palliative care services.

Joining Anna on the panel were:

Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite from Macquarie University whose research insights reinforced that the health system is complex for its regulation and financial structures. Unintended consequences can arise when an organisation in one sector implements changes that can then affect organisations in other sectors. Prof Braithwaite encouraged organisation to be smarter together and encouraged a networked approach to solutions to address the complexity. 

Professor Tracy Smart, AO, Professor Military & Aerospace Medicine, Public Health Lead, COVID response Office, ANU Adjunct discussed leadership change management techniques when change is complex, and resistance is fierce. Prof Smart’s insight into digital transformation through implementing electronic medical or consumer records connects front line providers with consumers and enables the integration of health care siloes.  

Professor Alison McMillan the Commonwealth Department of Health’s Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer described her goal to disrupt traditional models of care, giving the example of wanting to introduce at least one nurse in every residential aged care facility formally qualified in infection prevention and control. The pandemic made this change reality with 99% of all facilities now having a nurse trained in infection prevention and control. 

Dr Terry Sweeny, CEO of Digital Health CRC described how technology is an enabler that can empower frontline care providers with data-driven decision making. He felt that the population having experienced the COVID-19 pandemic was willing and able to adapt to new ways of engaging with their health system. Dr Sweeney talked about the possibilities and the efficiencies to be gained by using remote and assistive technologies and telehealth.

The session was chaired by Dr Neale Fong, ACHSM College President, CEO and Executive Director of Bethesda Health Care, and Chair of the WA Country Health Service.