Australia’s First Not-for-Profit Teaching Hospital [Interview][Transcript]

Carol Bryant_Macquarie_University_HospitalGuest: Carol Bryant
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Carol Bryant has held executive positions within the private hospital sector for the past 25 years. Prior to her position as CEO of Macquarie University Hospital, she was the CEO at Westmead Private Hospital for 11 years. Before taking up the position as CEO of Westmead private, she was the Director of Clinical Service and in 2000, Carol played a key role in opening Westmead Private. First qualifying as a Registered Nurse in 1975, Carol Bryant spent 12 years with North Gosford Private (1988 – 2000) including fulfilling the roles of Acting Director of Clinical Services and Deputy Director of Nursing, before moving to Ramsay Healthcare in May 2000.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, learn more about Macquarie University Hospital and the services they offer as we are joined by their CEO Carol Bryant. The academic hospital is modelled on leading international university hospitals and their facility incorporates the latest design principles because they recognize the therapeutic role the healthcare environment plays on patients, visitors and staff. Their health professionals are committed committed to a culture of continuous improvement through teaching and research. They take a multi-disciplinary approach to care and many of their specialists also work in teams, to ensure patients have access to their collective expertise.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today my guest is Carol Bryant, the CEO of Macquarie University Hospital which is Australia’s only private university hospital. Carol, welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Carol Bryant: Thank you very much Wayne.

W: Now Carol I have a confession to make, I didn’t realize Macquarie University was involved in a hospital. So tell us a little bit about the facility.

C: Well the hospital is actually five years old, it was opened in 2010. And the purpose of our facility was to in the biggest strategic plan of the university to bring medicine onto the campus. So the University very involved in allied health profession, speech pathology, radiology etc. but really wanted to move into medicine and so the purpose it is for us to support that endeavor. So we’re a complex surgical hospital, we are a private not for profit and we are here and the grand vision is to develop Australia’s first academic health sciences centre.

W: A splendid ambition, I have to say. Now you’re located in Sydney on the University Campus, are you?

C: Yes, that’s correct. We’re on right on the corner of the campus, it’s really a health precinct now, we’ve grown over time we’ve boarding a doc in that five years we’ve got in a doctors, physiotherapy, we’ve done training up to date which is post-specialist training, so doctors who are already specialized have been doing this subspecialty training. For example a neurosurgeon might come here and specialize in spine. But the university moved from a school of medicine to a faculty of medicine two years ago. And in that, we’re now broadening our horizon to look at teaching in potentially the undergraduate space. So certainly we’re looking in Bachelors of Health Sciences and who knows what the future brings, but certainly expanding in that area of teaching in medicine.

W: Now recently I was talking with Queensland Health, and they’re announcing that they’re going to have a digital hospital soon. But I understand you’re already a full digital hospital?

C: Yes, in fact so that was our plan from the beginning. And so yes, we have a full end-to-end electronic medical record. And we’re expanding that at the moment to go into our clinics, so where our doctors are the seeing patients over the next 18 months or so, the clinics also have that. So if a patient comes in to see a doctor, before they know they need surgery that record be integrate into the complete medical record within the hospital. So yes it’s very exciting and very innovative place to be.

W: And I imagine that with a fully integrated electronic health circle like that, there are both savings and learnings to be made.

C: Yes absolutely, there’s no doubt about that. And we’re lucky to be associated with the Australian Institute of Health Innovation. And they were brought board across to us from one of the other universities about a year ago and we’re working with them really to research that whole if you like look the whole are, what difference does it make, how does it help with government, how does it reduce medication errors, etc., etc. So it’s pretty, I guess being on the university campus what we’re doing in the academic health sciences centre is pulling together research, teaching and clinical excellence. So it’s an opportunity not done before in Australia and very exciting to be part of it.

W: It sounds exciting, and it does sound like it’s costumed built to bring about that good patient outcomes and good clinician outcomes by the sound of it.

C: Absolutely. And we know from the research that one of the obviously the focus of creating an academic health sciences centre is the patient journey. And when we bring those three areas together we know that the research shows that the patient outcomes are better. And in fact the other thing is that it attracts more good clinicians, more good nurses, good people to come to a centre, that they see this outcome actually going to you know coming into provision.

W: Now Carol, Macquarie University Hospital is also being of the leading edge of some other technologies I understand with “Gamma Knife” and “Cyclotron” and things. Tell you us about some of those technological advances.

C: Yes, so the Gamma Knife is also first in Australia. We do talk about a lot firsts here in Macquarie University Hospital. And it’s not new technology so upfront it’s been around since the 1960’s and is used extensively throughout the world. So what it does basically is it treats brain secondary cancers. So might have cancer say in breast or melanoma and you get a secondary cancer in the brain, and it treats those cancers without surgical incision so anything from cervical spine up, and can treat multiple tumors. So it’s a complex coordinated multidisciplinary team, so you have a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist, a physicist, a radiographer, a nurse, all working together planning this treatment. And the patient basically lies on a bed with a fixed frame and there are 192 beams of cobalt pointing with sub-millimeter accuracy to various tumors, but not affecting the rest of the brain. So it is an extraordinary treatment.

W: It is remarkable, isn’t it?

C: It is very remarkable. And the other thing is we do robotic surgery here and you probably heard of robotic surgery for prostate cancer.

W: Yeah.

C: But we also do robotic surgery for gynecological cancer, but we’re doing transoral treatment for head and neck cancer. Also we’re moving into using the robots for liver cancer. So really it’s a demonstration of yes this is working elsewhere, but we take it to another level. And I guess the other key is that we have multidisciplinary teams that really look at if you’re coming in to have treatment, what’s the best place for you to go, what treatment do you need? And we offer a broad spectrum of treatment really focused on creating a great journey and outcome for the patients.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest this morning is Carol Bryant from Macquarie University Hospital. Carol is the CEO and she’s been telling us about some of the technology that’s available at Macquarie University Hospital. And Carol I understand that imaging is of course critically important in patient care, but I understand you’ve taken that to world class?

C: Yes, the medical imaging department certainly fits in with the overall vision of the facility high technology, specialized care. And so we have the ability to merge various modalities. So you can have an MRI, a PET scan and a CT and that can be merged to look at, to give the clinician a really clear view of the cancer treatment that you might have to look at one after the other and have the treatments done on different days. So we’ve got subspecialized radiologists here who might only do musculoskeletal, they might only do neuro surgery or so very subspecialized both equipment and personnel to really assist in accurate treatment for patients so where specialists are referred them to this group.

W: That’s an extraordinary approach. Carol, as a private hospital does this make you more expensive than other private hospital?

C: No, the patients obviously pay it’s the same as any private facility where private health insurance is required and if you went to any other facility, your private health insurance would cover you here as it would anywhere else.

W: That’s an extraordinary achievement, being able to put together a private facility that’s able to be both on the leading edge of research and technology. And do it in a way that’s the price is competitive with the normal private hospital.

C: Yes it is extraordinary and I think the real difference is that the university in their strategy really wanted to bring medicine onto this cancer and so what’s the best way to do it. And so while we’re only young and this is in the very beginnings of this mission and vision that we have we’ll then discover is what we describe as our purpose. I think it has all the elements to really make a difference, to really improve patient lives and give them better outcome.

W: We have on Health Professional Radio previous interviews, some of your clinicians and academics and it’s always interesting to hear about their research. Carol my favorite question, what’s the biggest misconception amongst your customer, clients, patients, clinicians, researchers that drives you nuts and keeps you awake at night?

C: Well I think I’d probably say that the biggest frustration is that people don’t really understand what we’re here for. That we are a point of difference, that we’re trying to create something – something that doesn’t exist in Australia. So it’s a bit like anybody who’s on the leading edge of something new, they’re sort of the naysayers and saying “Oh my goodness, I have no idea.” So I guess that’s the frustration, we really as we build this enterprise we really want people to know truly why we’re here. And it is to know that as I said here learn and discover is our mission and we really want to make a difference in patients’ lives.

W: Well let’s hope today Carol we’ve been able to share that mission with a few more people in the clinical community. Thank you for your time, I realize you’re very busy and I do appreciate you giving us your time to us today. Carol Bryant, the CEO of Macquarie University Hospital and I do thank you for being with us today.

C: It’s my pleasure.

W: If you just missed my conversation with Carol, then you’ve missed this great insight into Macquarie University Hospital. However the good news is being a radio station we have a recording of it, yes you can listen to a full archive on SoundCloud and on YouTube. We also have a transcript of this interview on our website at The best URL to get in touch with Macquarie University Hospital is My name is Wayne Bucklar, this is Health Professional Radio.

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