Vic Management Interns' blog

Blog posts by Victorian Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Views are those of the individual authors and not those of ACHSM or management interns’ host organisations or employers.

Tais Lildaree
Tais Lildaree

Health Management Interns, ACHSM

Standout Sessions from the 2017 ACHSM/ACHS Asia-Pacific Congress

Author: Simon Hogan

Date: 9 Dec 2017

Key takeaways from two standout speakers at the 2017 Congress. 

The 2017 Joint ACHSM/ACHS Asia-Pacific Health Leadership Congress had a spectacular and diverse range of local and international speakers. It would be easy to write about each speaker and topic at length such was the high quality across the board. On reflecting on my time at the Congress, I decided to narrow the focus to two particular presentations from the first plenary session that stuck out to me for various reasons that I’ll elucidate below. It is worth reiterating that all the presentations had key takeaways; these two only scratch the surface of the vast amount of takeaways from a fantastic Congress.

Dr Ray Pentecost, Director of the Texas A&M Center for Health Systems and Design.

Dr Pentecost opened by presenting the concept of accountability, asking “can we make individuals more accountable for their healthcare?” Dr Pentecost then highlighted a number of key figures on US expenditure: 86% of healthcare costs are on chronic disease; spend on US healthcare is almost 20% of GDP; and in 2016, 30% of healthcare expenditure was wasted. Dr Pentecost went on to explain the large issues surrounding the US health budget and the potential for major economic impacts if the trends continue. I appreciated the frank and engaging commentary on the economic issues and Dr Pentecost’s desire to make individuals more aware and accountable of their health care expenses. My key takeaway: reduce the amount of money being wasted!

Dr Pentecost then went on to discuss connectivity and the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the medical world. He spoke about the impact of having up to date information available for doctors through the use of real time computing. Dr Pentecost commented that it would require “29 hours per day for doctors to remain current”; clearly an impossible task. Through the use of computers, medical professionals will be far more up to date on the latest treatment regimes and the best way forward for patients. It will be fascinating to see this transformation take place over the coming years.

Dr Pentecost also highlighted the use of virtual opportunities for treatment provision, stating that Kaiser Permanente use a virtual format for 63% of outpatient appointments. In my brief exposure to outpatient clinics, this concept is one that could dramatically improve the patient experience. The work of Kaiser Permanente and some other examples presented got me excited about the digital future of health.

Dr Pentecost spoke about a number of other topics but it was his remarks on budget, AI and virtual reality that really stood out to me. While Australia would not want to follow the US from a number of health vantage points, some of the digital advances are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer  - Horizons Group, NHS England.

The presentation from Helen Bevan featured numerous takeaways that I will be able to use in my work. She started by talking about the change in how projects function; they are now far shorter and rely on quick results rather than the traditional longer-term undertakings. She also highlighted the decrease in hierarchical power for many projects, referencing the increasing reliance on collaboration, connection, relationships and open or shared environments. While the majority of projects I’ve been involved in have featured newer ways of working, it was interesting to reflect on how this has evolved.

Helen mentioned the fascinating finding that 3% of people in an organisation can drive conversations with 90% of people within the organisation. She then elaborated on the need to find the people with influence when starting change projects, referencing the vital 3%. One of the key takeaways for me was the 3% may not consist of the structural leaders of the organisation, suggesting that change managers need to dig a little deeper to find the real influencers.

In discussing why transformation projects fail, Helen referenced the Gallup survey that found confusing strategies as the number one reason why people don’t get on board. Helen mentioned numerous other factors that can reduce the chance of success in change projects but the main takeaway for me was the importance of a clearly defined strategy and open communication.

Helen was an engaging presenter who shared a wealth of knowledge and tangible takeaways. I will keep an eye on the activity of the Horizons team for many years to come.

There were many outstanding speakers at the 2017 Congress but the concepts and tangible takeaways from Dr Ray Pentecost and Helen Bevan really stood out for me. I’m already excited to see who will be on the program for Darwin in 2018!

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