The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital (TSCPH)

  • Location: Buderim, Australia
  • Award: International Healthcare Organization of the Quarter
  • Awarded: June 2014

During the past 7 years, The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital has experienced significant growth, expanding bed numbers, expanding range of clinical services, increasing staff numbers and increasing the acuity of the hospital from a secondary facility to an emerging tertiary level facility, and the threat of a new competitor hospital within 10 minutes location opening. The management team was challenged to maintain the family friendly culture that the hospital enjoyed as a smaller facility, improve patient outcomes and improve staff satisfaction whilst undergoing significant growth and change.

With a strong belief that “there must be a better way” to do things, members of the Executive team attended an Australian “Hardwiring Excellence” day seminar in early 2010, which highlighted some of the key aspects of the Studer principles.  Excited by this, some of the tactics were introduced in a modified approach eg thank you cards and patient rounding, which fitted in with the hospital’s culture and desire to achieve great patient outcomes.  We saw some good results from this.

When the full concept of the Studer principles were first introduced to the TSCPH Executive, there was concern for how implementing new systems would impact the team given the amount of change the hospital and management team had been through and was still to come.  Nevertheless, fresh back from the “What’s Right in Healthcare Conference” in the U.S, TSCPH officially began its Studer journey with a mix of excitement, fear and a touch of intrepidation! 

Executive Director, Richard Royle’s vision and commitment for embedding the Studer principles into UnitingCare Health, led to it becoming known as “Living Values” to also fit with our 5 shared Values – Compassion, Respect, Justice, Working Together and Leading Through Learning.

There were a few challenges for the TSCPH management team. The first was how to rigorously rollout “Living Values” in it’s entirety and ensure that the hospital’s recent successes were not lost, and that implementing yet more change would have the intended positive effect on the culture and not an unintended, detrimental one.  TSCPH was a fairly high performing hospital - for example, our staff engagement was at “Success” (Best Practice Australia survey 2012), and patient satisfaction was at the 72nd percentile (2012 Press Ganey survey).  Yet we truly believed “there must be a better way”, and wanted to go from good to great.

The second challenge for TSCPH was the diverse clinical services in which we implemented the tactics, and how to adapt the Studer principles to fit our goals, objectives, Australian culture, and the strong TSCPH culture!  Flexibility, creativity of our leaders, and determination that we could make this work equally as well for mental health as they do for rehabilitation, maternity, medical or surgical is a credit to their commitment to excellence.  We see Living Values (Studer Principles) was a way to further improve, and that “Hardwiring Excellence” was the key to ensuring that we build on our successes of the past and continuously improve for the future.

We are very humbled and honored to have been nominated for this award and winning it is a credit to our team’s dedication to their patients and to each other.  This has been a very challenging time in our hospital history, with a new competitor hospital opened only 10 mins away 6 months ago, yet the impact has had very little negative effects on staff turnover, patient or Doctor numbers, in fact we have grown and expanded further.  We recognize that together with the foundation of “Hardwiring Excellence”, our organisational values and the amazing people we work with, we can truly achieve even greater things.

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