Australia’s Private Hospitals Celebrate Excellence at 2023 Awards

Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA)

The Australian Private Hospitals Association (APHA) is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023 Awards For Excellence, which celebrate clinical excellence, innovation and improved staff wellbeing in Australia’s private hospitals.

APHA CEO Michael Roff said the Awards are an opportunity for hospitals to share their innovative projects with peers, with a view to providing a platform for them that others can emulate.

“We reintroduced the Awards in 2020 to celebrate the high-quality care Australians receive in private hospitals, but also to offer a way for hospital executives to learn from industry exemplars. We have a session at our APHA National Congress each year dedicated to the Awards which aims to provide a snapshot into the finalists’ programs to provoke thoughts and conversations about how that excellence could be shared,” he said.

Mr Roff said the high standard of entries in each of the Award categories showed how much private hospitals had been able to achieve, while continuing to manage COVID-19 patients and deal with the significant challenges posed by ongoing workforce shortages.

The Awards are judged by a panel that includes the APHA CEO, the Chair of the Consumer Health Forum and the CEO of Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care.

The Awards were presented at the APHA Gala Awards Dinner held in Sydney Monday 27 March 2023.

Clinical Excellence: Quality of care and patient outcomes

Finalists:

Epworth HealthCare – Voluntary Assisted Dying Model Of Care

Sydney Adventist Hospital – Quality Improvement In Interventional Angiography

Winner: Robina Private Hospital – Older Persons Mental Health Program

Consumer Partnership Finalists: Wollongong Private Hospital – Consumer Representative Committee Initiative Hurstville Private Hospital – Self Pay Surgery

Winner: Epworth HealthCare – Clinical Service Improvement Team

Specific Award Category 2023: Staff engagement and wellbeing

Winner: Bethesda Health Care – Work Health and Safety Staff Wellness Survey

The following page outlines the winning programs.

Clinical Excellence Quality of care and patient outcomes

Robina Private Hospital Program: Older Persons Mental Health Service

Synopsis:

Robina Private Hospital’s Older Persons Mental Health Service provides care for older people suffering from mental health conditions, cognitive disorders and medical co-morbidities.

The Older Persons Mental Health Service has grown to support the demands of providing services for patients who are cognitively impaired and has worked to ensure an inclusive and supportive environment. The Healthy Minds Day programs have increased significantly, and the program has adopted continued quality improvement to ensure best practice. Staff and health professionals have completed online learning provided by Dementia Australia to become a ‘dementia friend’, raising awareness and staff engagement for dementia services in the hospital, improving patient experience.

Inpatient care is a collaborative environment and Older Persons Mental Health works alongside a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team and collaborates with allied health professionals and physicians to create a multifaceted program.

The hospital has recruited consumer and carer feedback to improve the program and reduce waiting lists. Preassessment nurse triage for memory clinic referrals has been developed to support the communication and booking process to improve attendance, gain collateral from treating general practitioners as pre-diagnostic work up and provide carer and patient information prior to attendance.

Services are regularly reviewed, and issues identified and improved at structured committee meetings and craft and peer group sessions and action plans are created for areas of improvement.

Judges’ comments: This is an excellent model and is able to be replicated widely through the professional networks and collaboration developed with national and other organisations. There has been demonstrative improvement to clinical services and outcomes and detailed involvement of hospital team members at every level and throughout. Involvement of consumers/patients and carers has occurred throughout, and their feedback has been acted upon to make improvements to services.

Consumer Partnership

Epworth HealthCare

Program: Clinical Service Improvement Team Synopsis: During 2021 – 2022 Epworth HealthCare sought to develop the Partnering With Consumers Strategy it rolled out in 2020. The Strategy aims to ensure consumers have a voice in shaping and influencing Epworth HealthCare’s services, not only at point of care but also in planning, design, delivery and evaluation.

In 2021-2022 the hospital group focused on implementing systems and processes to support embedding its strategy to ensure partnerships with consumers were meaningful. Epworth HealthCare saw an organisational shift in the attitudes and approaches to consumer partnerships, with staff and doctors embracing the consumer voice. The initiative centred around enhancing the role of Consumer Advisors and has resulted in the level of consumer engagement across the organisation progressing along the continuum of participation. Pre-2021 consumer partnerships mainly involved ‘informing’ or ‘consulting’ with consumers, but now it has Consumer Advisors ‘collaborating’ across all levels of the organisation, and within the various sites and services.

Key highlights include:

  • Consumers on research committees
  • Patient Experience Survey working group – the survey is more user friendly and contains questions that have been recommended and reviewed by patients
  • Sentinel events- Consumer Advisors contributing a consumer perspective and other viewpoints as part of the investigation and learnings has enhanced the sentinel event review process and outcomes.
  • Feedback on digital technologies has helped to improve the user experience for other patients.
  • Consumer involvement in patient materials has helped ensure they are easy to understand and meet the needs of patients.
  • Consumer partnerships have helped ensure services meet the needs of patients and families.

Judge’s comments: An excellent model which could and should be replicated across all hospitals! Demonstrable evidence of involving consumers in co-design and collaboration at all levels and across the board.

Specific Award Category 2023: Staff engagement and wellbeing

Winner: Bethesda Health Care – Work Health and Safety Staff Wellness Survey

(There was only one finalist in this category).

Synopsis:

Bethesda Health Care undertook a staff well being survey with a difference, and surveyed employees on all aspects of their lives, not just the work environment. The survey was completed by 55 percent of staff, 80 percent of whom said Bethesda was a ‘great’ place to work. It also provided insights into areas where staff sought more education and training including:

a) having difficult conversations at work

b) dealing with and managing conflict and

c) giving effective and constructive feedback.

Bethesda responded by developing guidance material, offering training sessions and is developing a training package to address other key elements from the survey.

In June 2023, Bethesda will undertake a second “Pulse” survey to measure the effectiveness of the Action Plans and other workplace cultural initiatives.

Bethesda Health Care understands that staff who are engaged and feel valued have a positive impact on the patient care experience and clinical outcomes. Patient satisfaction scores remain very high.

Judge’s comments: A very good application demonstrating commitment to staff wellbeing. Demonstrates that staff wellbeing is linked to patient satisfaction e.g. “Patient satisfaction feedback data is closely monitored at Bethesda and as of December 2022 the Net Promoter Score was at an encouraging 9.5 out of 10.”

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