In the healthcare industry, efficiency is key. Be it efficiency from an internal operations perspective or efficiency when it comes to patient care services, a healthcare organization can only truly achieve unmeasured success if it ensures it is operating efficiently and delivering consistent and courteous patient experience.
Suresh Madan, President and CEO of MyHealth Centre, spotted an opportunity born out of inefficient market. In 2013, while managing an investment fund, Suresh noted that all public-sector hospitals in the Ontario province of Canada were operating inefficiently. The hospitals could not cope with the intake of patients, creating long and unsustainable patient waiting times, the constant rescheduling of appointments due to poor equipment or the extremely limited availability of physicians and para-medical staff.
A collaborative effort
This is where the MyHealth Centre concept was born. A unique, collaborative partnership of radiologists, cardiologists and healthcare professionals, MyHealth Centre is focused on delivering outstanding quality and innovation through its Independent Health Facilities (IHF).
“The idea was to create a chain of clinics which can operate efficiently, maintain costs and provide the services that patients need,” says Suresh.
Fast forward to 2017 and MyHealth Centre currently owns and operates 27 clinics across Ontario and with ambitions of expanding even further (The province has close to 800 clinics). The organization is well and truly on a growth journey.
For Suresh, throughout this journey it is crucial that the business remains committed to providing efficiency in its operations and exemplary patient care, but this level of service can only be delivered through the quality of its greatest asset - its people.
“The quality of our service can only be as good as the quality of our team,” he says. “As a healthcare service delivery company, it requires physical interaction with the personal touches and care from the best possible people. This is only possible if you have that high-quality team.”
Developing that high quality team came with a significant challenge. In acquiring a series of clinics from across the province, that brings about different cultures and working dynamics. This was a key area in which Suresh has spent the best part of four years addressing.
“The challenge was to mould the different cultures into one consistent culture and in turn deliver a superior high-quality service and form a superior high-quality team,” he says.
This moulding of a core, consistent culture came to a head recently as MyHealth Centre was crowned a “Great Place to Work 2017-18”. For Suresh, this speaks volumes as to the way in which the organization is committed to ensuring its employees are the best they can be and are valued from top to bottom.
This internal metric comes from some very outward facing initiatives, such as the Patient Ambassador Program. This program is centred around patient feedback, encouraging patients to highlight the instances of MyHealth Centre employees going the extra mile to deliver a level of service that is unmatched across the industry.
This culture of championing the hardworking employees is not only a case of celebrating the hard work already done, but allows room for them to think about where they can improve their service.
A personal touch
As President and CEO, Suresh strives to show that he is not hidden away through top tier management, but he is there for his employees and wants them to feel valued. This comes through a more personal initiative called the Champions Lunch.
“Every month we elected four members of our organization, four members elected by their peers for high quality service,” he says.
Suresh would then invite those four members each month to a personal lunch, providing an opportunity for him to engage directly with his employees, but also gain a better understanding of MyHealth Centre.
“I try to get to know them, to understand where the company is succeeding and where it can improve. I learn from their frontline experience dealing with patients,” says Sureshj. “We implemented a number of initiatives based off of those conversations and this really enhanced the trust as well as the overall efficiencies throughout the organization.”
It is clear that MyHealth Centre is committed to delivering a great place to be, but what work does the organization do to deliver on the promise of efficient and high-quality service to patients?
As the company continues to grow towards improving its market share and acquiring more clinics, Suresh is all too aware of the role that the patients will play in that growth journey.
MyHealth Centre conducts regular patient feedback exercises and takes action on all of that feedback. This feedback allows MyHealth Centre to grow as dictated by the patient need, not simply the business one.
“Patients like enhanced quality, they like the common touch and feel of each of our clinics. They like the widespread nature of our clinics,” says Suresh.
“In some cases, we’ve found that some patients would travel between 20-30 km to get their clinic services. MyHealth Centre provides the ability to visit a local clinic that could be close to home, or even close to work. That is a major benefit and quality of service we provide.”
It’s not just the locations of clinics and the quality of care that is provided by employees that defines the success of the organization. Technology has already transformed the healthcare industry and will continue to shape the future and this has not been lost on Suresh.
MyHealth Centre has significantly invested in improving its user facing interface, creating convenience and simplicity for the patient. This investment into technology for the patient represents a wider internal aim of enhancing the quality of the patient experience, with some initiatives ready to roll out late this year.
This aim is centred on growing demand from changing patient expectations.
“Patients are trying to obtain more information within their own healthcare space,” he says. “They are more demanding, curious and aware. That’s an overall trend so we have to adapt to that. We want to make sure that all the info patients need and the convenience they need is provided and available to them.”
MyHealth Centre is currently developing a mobile and tablet application, one that is a subset of all the organization’s patient facing tools. The app will allow patients to receive booking reminders, confirmations and follow up details all through push messages. All of the necessary data surrounding a patient’s healthcare is handled through a secure, encrypted network.
The purpose of this app is to provide all the information a patient needs efficiently and securely, directly to their phone or tablet device. Suresh is keen to push the appointment flexibility that the app provides as patients can choose their own timings that work best for them, as opposed to the historical method of requesting bookings.
“We want patients to have more choice as opposed to us making the choices for them,” he says. “It’s a huge transformation in engaging with the patients and meeting their needs.”
As MyHealth Centre continues its journey into expanding its market share, acquiring more clinics, first and foremost in its province and then beyond the wider realms of Canada and more internationally, Suresh stresses the need to remember it is the patient that defines the organization’s growth, not the other way around.
“I don’t see our growth and market changes happening on their own, it’s more a case of our perception of the need of the patient,” he says. “We need to change and enhance our systems to fulfil that changing demand and need which will happen over time. That will establish us a leader in the market.”