Tech chief for Ramsay Health Care describes its digital journey

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This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of CRN magazine.

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Tech chief for Ramsay Health Care describes its digital journey

Established in 1964, Ramsay Health Care is now Australia’s largest operator of private hospitals, admitting nearly 1 million patients to its 70 hospitals and day surgery facilities each year. Under CIO John Sutherland, the company has embarked on an ambitious digital strategy, resulting in Ramsay winning the healthcare category in last year’s iTnews Benchmark Awards for its MyPatient+ app for doctors.

What is an example of a project you have recently worked on, or are currently working on, with IT suppliers or partners? Can you briefly describe that project and how IT suppliers/partners helped you deliver it?

We have recently deployed a new MyRamsay mobile app for our diverse workforce of 30,000-plus people. The app uses AI, instant messaging and other tech to help staff engage with the company and each other, highlighting news, jobs, social activities and employee perks.

To build the app we engaged IntelliHealth, a boutique development firm that we also worked with in 2016 to build our MyPatient+ app for our physicians. 

IntelliHealth is a small, very customer-focused team with clinical experience. They embed themselves inside our business to gain a detailed understanding of the project, and we’ve found them to be a very good fit with our organisation’s culture.

IntelliHealth was 100 percent focussed on the delivery of this app. Using them allowed us to execute this project while enabling our internal development team to focus on our vast pipeline of other support and development work.

How does Ramsay Health Care select its IT suppliers and partners?

Our selection criteria are quite straightforward. Our partners have to be fit for purpose, their product or service has to be suitable functionally and commercially, and they have to fit in with the culture of our organisation.


What does an IT supplier or partner need to do to impress you?

They need to demonstrate they’re willing to build a relationship with Ramsay. They need to understand our business and our vision – and help us achieve the vision.

We want to it be a mutually beneficial partnership, but don’t try to sell us solutions to problems we don’t have.

We want our partners to innovate with us, and to deliver – exceeding our expectations. 

What do suppliers or partners do that annoys you?

Don’t ‘sell’ to us – we need partners who share our vision and goals. 

Don’t refer to me as a ‘prospect’ or refer to our work as a ‘deal’.

Don’t expose your internal sales pipeline to us as a customer.

Don’t escalate your inquiry to a higher authority, or use a scatter gun approach to try to infiltrate our organisation. 


What advice would you give to any IT provider wanting to work with you in future?

Demonstrate that you will have skin in the game and you are not seeking a quick deal.

Become a strategic partner and understand that sometimes this involves proving your worth through pre-sales work.

Get to know the challenges and goals of our organisation, and show that you understand us with your work and how you interact with us.

Acknowledge the boundaries of your product or service – and it’s OK to say no to us, particularly if what we’re asking falls outside those boundaries.

Form relationships – the ability to work with another supplier or partner can be just as important as the product you are supplying.


Will your use of IT partners increase in the future?

Yes. We employ the Gartner bimodal IT model, so we will need partners for strategic projects that require a dedicated team and the ability to operate without internal distractions.

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