Friendly Society Private Hospital

  • Location: Queensland, Australia
  • Award: Australian Organization of Distinction
  • Awarded: December 2019

The Friendly Society Private Hospital, a nonprofit independent private facility, affectionately known as “The Friendlies,” has been providing quality health services to the Bundaberg region for almost 75 years. The city of Bundaberg is a Queensland regional center, about 360 kilometers north of Brisbane at the start of the Great Barrier Reef.

In 2012, The Friendlies was introduced to Evidence-Based Leadershipâ„  (EBL) by Studer Group Australia. At the time, the Friendly Society Private Hospital was a growing organization of 115 beds, and our leadership team knew we needed a plan to sustain our future. We have since grown to a 142-bed hospital and have expanded our allied health, oncology and emergency services, ready to embark on our next expansion over the next three years.

We began our EBL journey with a commitment to staff to be the “hospital of choice for friendly, quality healthcare” by cementing our culture around five core values (friendliness, courage, compassion, diligence and wisdom). Our best-practice Australia staff engagement surveys have shown consistent improvement (2013: 52% engaged in a culture of ambition, 2015: 58% engaged in a culture of ambition, 2017: 60% engaged in a culture of success and now in 2019: 65.4% engaged in a culture of success). We can attribute part of this success to the above- and below-the-line behaviours based on our five values. With the Evidence-Based Leadership framework as our guide, and our committed workforce, we continue to hard-wire processes into the way we work here at The Friendlies. To offer and deliver valued health services, we work in close collaboration with many private medical specialists.

We survey our visiting medical officers on an ongoing basis to ensure that our symbiotic relationship is authentic and productive. In 2012, our Press Ganey Australia doctor survey had an overall satisfaction rating of 87%; then in 2014, 89.7%; and in 2017, 90.3%. We have credentialed more than 150 additional medical practitioners since 2012 to support the delivery of our expanding services. Currently, there are 281 active practitioners linked with us, in our increasingly complex private health industry.

Health insurance companies in Australia are beginning to rank both private and government-run healthcare facilities according to their members’ experience. Medibank Private members ranked the Friendlies Hospital very high (9.1 out of 10) in 2018, which was better than similar-sized hospitals across Australia. We attribute this to implementing and continuing to embed AIDET, hourly rounding, utilizing the patient communication boards and our staff being committed to living our values every day. Our primary source of funding is from privately insured patients, so their voice matters.

Our business activity continues to grow with 15.7% growth in total bed-days from fiscal year 2012-2013 to fiscal year 2018-2019. In fiscal year 2012-2013, we treated 12,373 patients and performed 11,583 surgical procedures, and now in fiscal year 2018-2019, we have treated 16,600 patients (35% increase) and performed 19,000 surgical procedures (64% growth). We work collaboratively with many VMOs to build our business. Our revenue continues to expand; between fiscal year 2012-2013 and fiscal year 2018-2019, we have seen a 52.5% increase.

We are humbled to have been nominated and then awarded the Studer Group Australian Healthcare Organization of Distinction. Our results are testament to our defined and agreed vision supported by team commitment, dedication and our passion to be better. This cannot be achieved through one person alone, but rather the whole organization focusing on being the hospital of choice for friendly, quality healthcare. We look forward to seeking more opportunities to improve our services further for our employees, doctors and patients.

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