Not-for-Profit Organisation Promoting Innovation in Healthcare to Australian and New Zealand Hospitals [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_John_Menzies_The_Health_Roundtable_LimitedGuest: Dr. John Menzies
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Dr John Menzies is an experienced hospital and health service consultant who has over 30 years experience in the health field both in Australia and internationally. He graduated with first class honours in Medicine at the Univ. Qld. and obtained a Master of Health Planning from Univ. NSW. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators and is a senior censor with the College. Dr. Menzies is currently the General Manager of the Health Roundtable Ltd. Prior to taking on this role in early 2015, he was for thirteen years the senior medical and hospital consultant for AbtJTA. Prior to joining AbtJTA, Dr Menzies was the CEO of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital from 1996-2003 and Regional Director for Health for the Sunshine Coast Region (1990-1996). Dr. Menzies special interests include telemedicine and supporting clinical services and health workers in remote situations.

Segment overview: For our Innovation in Health Service and Hospital Management Segment, we are joined by General Manager of the Health Roundtable Limited Dr. John Menzies here to discuss the services they provide to members of their non-profit membership organisation across Australia and New Zealand. From their small beginning back in 1990, the Health Roundtable has grown substantially and now represents some 147 hospitals from around Australia and New Zealand in every state and territory and all of the district health boards in New Zealand. They undertake clinical benchmarking on a regular basis and looks to understand what is different between hospitals and to understand that difference and then to look and see if the innovation or the difference is of value to other hospitals and then shares that with its members.


Health Professional Radio – The Health Roundtable Limited

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and joining me today for Health innovation is Dr. John Menzies. John is the General Manager of the Health Roundtable Limited and joins us from Brisbane, Australia. John I guess for a lot of health professionals who are working in hospitals and health services they’d be familiar with the Health Roundtable. But for those listeners who are not familiar with it, can you tell us a little about the history of the Health Roundtable? What it does and how it assist hospitals with quality and with innovation and safety and efficiency?

Dr. John Menzies: Yeah, sure. The Health Roundtable actually started some 21 years ago in 1995 when a group of the Chief Executives from both several hospitals surround Australia and New Zealand for that it would be beneficial if they can undertake clinical benchmarking of their services and start to look at what was different between the hospitals. So where a hospital was doing something innovative, certainly something different that would improve patient care, safety, quality and efficiency, then the hospitals would look to share the improvements that they’ve learned from their fellow hospitals. From that small beginning back in 1990, the Health Roundtable has grown substantially and now represents some 147 hospitals from around Australia and New Zealand in every state and territory and all of the district health boards in New Zealand. And it basically as I mentioned earlier undertakes clinical benchmarking on a regular basis and looks to understand what is different between hospitals and to understand that difference and then to look and see if the innovation or the difference is of value to other hospitals. And obviously then shares that with its members throughout both Australia and New Zealand.

W: John that’s a big organization with those sorts of numbers and has still somewhere into grow, I imagine but it sounds like that’s pretty comprehensively cover the Australian Health System.

J: It has, all the hospitals in New Zealand are involved, not quite all the hospitals in Australia are involved, particularly the smaller country hospitals tend not to be a members. But all of the major hospitals are members, and they are the ones where the health trends are usually set for Australian and New Zealand hospitals. And all of those hospitals regularly participate in the various activities of the Health Roundtable offers throughout each calendar year.

W: John can you explain about innovation sharing? And how the hospitals learn about innovation from one another?

J: Sure. Basically there are four key ways, firstly we run workshops throughout the year. And they’re usually on topics of interest for hospitals and the senior clinical staff that felt are important to look at in more depth. So it could be mental health, it could be medication, it could be obstetrics, it could be the surgical journey, it could be end of life care. And at each of these workshops, the participating hospitals will look at firstly their own data to see what is happening, where they are compared to one another. And secondly they usually participate in sharing information from special surveys that we do. At those workshops, after they have seen how they’re performing and what the differences are, hospitals present innovations or new ways of providing care to improve in the field that’s been discussed, like for instance the surgical journey or end of life care. And those hospitals that have got the most interesting innovations, the other hospitals will ask questions and learn from them and then hopefully go back to their own hospitals and implement the changes that they have seen and believe will work in their area. Obviously every hospital in the world, not just here in Australia and New Zealand but every hospital is on a different pathway and its journey to trying to improve quality and safety. And I must admit that I’m yet to see any hospital anywhere in the world that is absolutely perfect, obviously a number of substantially more advanced than others. So there’s the opportunity for every hospital to learn particularly in areas where they have a weakness. So the workshop is the most important way where we share the innovations. Secondly we run specific workshops which we run a few times each year where we bring in experts from overseas. If we haven’t crack a particular problem in Australia or New Zealand, then we invite expert in the field from the United States or somewhere else in the Northern hemisphere. Occasionally from in South Africa to present what they doing differently to see whether in fact it can be used in Australasian hospitals. Thirdly, all of our members have access to the Health Roundtable website, its publications and networks. Every workshop we run, we put on the website, all the innovations that have been explained, some for the first time other said are just advancements on previous innovations. And every participating member has the opportunity to look at that at any time to use the information to help improve their services. And finally we have an annual innovation showcase where we literally share the best innovations with all the other members. That’s in a special workshop usually in Sydney or Melbourne, plus we also share the innovations as our client managers visit all of the different hospitals. So when they’re visiting a hospital, if a hospital says that “We’re struggling with a particular area.” We can share the innovations that we know we’ve heard about in the last couple of years that have been successful elsewhere and we put the hospital in contact with the key individual from another hospital, so that they can network and learn from the experiences elsewhere. So these are the four key ways how we share innovations between all our members.

W: That’s a very extensive program and one that I dare to suggest Health Roundtable could be very proud of it, it sounds very comprehensive. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar and I’m in conversation with Dr. John Menzies the General Manager of The Health Roundtable Limited. John’s been talking to us about the work of The Health Roundtable in the way which innovation are shared amongst hospitals in Australia. John, does The Health Roundtable undertake work to inform its member hospitals about innovations that are occurring elsewhere in the world?

J: We certainly do, I touched on it briefly before when I said that we invite people from overseas. Many of our members including the staff of The Health Roundtable itself is constantly looking at world literature and best performance in hospitals elsewhere, and also our technological innovations. And if we see that something has emerged that could have particular value in Australasian hospital then we will look to bring that information back to one of our workshops, either through clinical information that we provide or we will actually invite one of the inventors or the key performers of the innovation Australia to actually run a workshop and share that information with the local hospitals and the staff.

W: John fascinating to hear about the work of The Health Roundtable. If people want more information, I guess the website is the place to go?

J: It certainly is. It’s just and all of the hospitals of Australasia who are a members of course can access that at any time. One of the values of membership is that all of the subscribing member institutions, all of their staff have access not just seeing the clinical staff but all of the staff have access and if they’re doing a particular research project or trying to improve service elements in their own hospital, it might only be a small department and or an activity that’s trying to improve services with local primary health networks in Australia or with primary health organizations in New Zealand. The individual staff members can actually go online themselves, find the information they need and actually develop a program or an improvement that will help the flow of patients and their quality of care.

W: That website again was www.healthroundtable all one word John it’s been a pleasure having you with me, thank you for your time. I understand that you’re a busy man so I do appreciate your time with us today.

J: It’s a pleasure.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. If you’ve just joined us then you’ve just missed my conversation with Dr. John Menzies, General Manager of The Health Roundtable Limited, but the good news is there is a transcript of our conversation and also an audio archive on SoundCloud and YouTube. And you can access all of those resources through Health Professional Radio website at My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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