Issue 1 – 2011
AAPM National Conference
Burswood Entertainment Complex
Perth Western Australia
18 – 21 October 2011
In this issue
profile internet, email
and social media
On behalf of the National Board and
members of AAPM, our thoughts are
with all those members, their families
and wider communities impacted
by the devastation from the range
of natural disasters across Australia
in recent months – the Queensland
floods, Victoria floods, West Australian
bushfires and the North Queensland
cyclone. Perhaps for many of us who
attended last year’s conference in
Cairns, the recognition of so many familiar landmarks on President’s message 2
the news reports made the cyclone seem so much more
For those affected, it certainly was not the way you would wish Our board members, contacts 3
to start the challenges of a new year. At times it is just so hard to
comprehend the immediate impact of such events, let alone the From the desk of the chief executive officer
longer-term effect on individuals and communities. by Dean Barton-Smith 3
As many communities and practices set about rebuilding their
health services, we should consider that this may provide an Newsbites
opportunity to re-establish these services in a more coordinated Latest news and events 5
and user-beneficial environment.
There is no doubting that this year has the potential to provide States roundup 10
some of the most significant reform to Australia’s health system
that we will have experienced. It will certainly show government, Survey practice profiles 14
practice principals, and our staff, the real value of a practice
manager and our role in this change management exercise.
AAPM national conference,
To ensure we are in a position to maximise opportunities we October 2011 16
must be well informed and prepared. The key areas that I would
encourage you to consider are: WA member finalist in awards 19
• Stay informed – seek information regularly and from a wide
range of sources Leadership in the 21st century 20
• Know where you are now – review your position and establish
your baseline Workplace internet, email,
• Review impact of change when final initiatives known – don’t and social media use policies 22
waste time on “maybes”
• Adopt, initiate, and develop an electronic environment – Member benefits 24
• Once announced – ACT!
As someone once said to me: Why settle for the Cutting Edge,
when you could be at the Bleeding Edge!
Perth, Western Australia,
Brett McPherson FAAPM venue of our national
National President Thanks to Tourism
Western Australia for
permission to use this
2 | Issue 1 – 2011
President Treasurer Tamara Ruff
Brett McPherson Marina Fulcher P 08 8373 4944
P 0418 131 873 P 0417 438 895 E firstname.lastname@example.org
E email@example.com E firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Executive Officer
Vice-president Non-Executive Directors Dean Barton-Smith
Narelle Supanz Carolyn Ingram P 0412 752 920
P 0412 305 119 P 0411 725 899 E email@example.com
E firstname.lastname@example.org E email@example.com
Secretary Linda Osman
Debra Smith P 0405 516 331
P 0412 802 096 E firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Tas Secretariat
P 1800 196 000 F (03) 9329 2524
The Medical Group
in the United States has a vast range of
Queensland E email@example.com courses ranging from one day to several
Contact Qld Secretariat (Donna Bennett) months. A complete list of activities can be
P (07) 3103 5152 F (07) 3829 9730 South Australia/Northern Territory obtained from MGMA
E firstname.lastname@example.org Contact Kim Monu P (303) 397 7875 W www.mgma.com
P (08) 8342 4548 F (08) 8342 4548
New South Wales/ACT E email@example.com National Office
Contact NSW/ACT Secretariat Level 1, 60 Lothian Street,
(Helen Kenny) Western Australia North Melbourne, Vic 3051
P 1800 196 679 F (03) 9329 2524 Contact Cherie Gannaway P 1800 196 000 F (03) 9329 2524
E firstname.lastname@example.org P 0447 803 075 F (08) 9259 0062 E email@example.com
Contact Vic Secretariat International Marilyn Bitomsky
P 1300 651 334 F 1300 651 335 For information on Institute of Healthcare P (07) 3371 3057
E firstname.lastname@example.org Management: 18-21 Morley Street, London E email@example.com
SE1 7QZ P 44 20 7460 7623 F 020 7460 7655;
E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.ihm.org.uk
From the desk of the CEO
Unfortunately the start of 2011 reminded us
of the power of mother nature, with flooding
in many parts of Queensland, a cyclone in
north Queensland, and bushfires in Western
It was wonderful to see humanity come to
the fore and a number of practice managers
responded to a Head Office request for Castlemaine Street, Milton Brisbane, next to Suncorp Stadium
“We are people to offer time, services, or support to a realistic yet practical approach that will be
currently help their fellow members recover and rebuild cost effective and efficient for all concerned.
quickly. As we were in the process of moving forward
The Board and staff wish to express our with our new website, the feedback from
a far more concerns and thoughts to those who have our members in the last member survey has
been directly or indirectly affected and trust enabled us to realign our initial approach and
that what lies ahead is looking up. we are currently developing a far more robust
website.” This will be a critical year for AAPM due to the online initiative that offers more than just
fact that we will once again host our AAPM general information, links, and benefits.
Board and State Branch’s President Summit Lastly, In the coming months we will see the
(February). This is a time to review the work of 2nd AAPM National Membership Satisfaction
the past three years and to develop a new Survey followed by the 2011 National Practice
strategic plan for the next 3-5 years. In doing Manager Salary Survey which will then lead
so, we will be trying to identify ways to make up to our next national conference to be held
an even greater impact. in Perth 18-21 October 2011. What a year this
The healthcare landscape is changing.... will be!
We believe our members need to be on the Dean Barton-Smith
front foot to ensure changes are made with Chief Executive Officer
3| Issue 1 – 2011
4 | Issue 1 – 2011
AGPAL elections ensure
Quality in Practice
AGPAL and Quality in Practice (QIP) to encourage and support the
recently elected two long-standing understanding of industry standards in
and well respected practice managers relation to achieving and maintaining
to the Board at their annual general accreditation,” Mrs Chaffey said.
meeting held in December last year.
“With the recent growth of QIP this is
Mrs Jan Chaffey, Executive Officer certainly an exciting and challenging Mrs Jan Chaffey,
at Camp Hill Healthcare, Director time to represent health care Executive Officer Camp
of Stat Health Systems, AAPM Hill Healthcare, Director
professionals in their achievement of Stat Health Systems,
Committee member, and DVA Practice
of accreditation and their delivery AAPM Committee
Management Advisory Committee member, and DVA
of improved service to the wider
member was elected to the position of Practice Management
Independent Director for both AGPAL Advisory Committee
and QIP. Mr Gary Smith, a former NSW AAPM
State Committee member with more
Mr Gary Smith, former AGPAL and QIP
board member, AAPM life member and than 25 years’ experience in practice
member of several Medicare Australia management, accepted the position
consultative and working groups was of QIP Chair.
elected to the position of QIP Chair. “As a former Independent Director
With market-leading AGPAL currently of both the AGPAL Board and QIP
accrediting more than 75% of Board, I am committed to ensuring we
accredited general practices in deliver quality improvement services
Australia and QIPs recent growth that enhance people’s safety, health
accrediting both diagnostic imaging and well-being here in Australia and
and physiotherapy and soon to overseas,” Mr Smith said. Mr Gary Smith,
provide accreditation for dentistry and “I look forward to working with QIP former AGPAL and
retirement villages, a well-represented QIP board member,
clients and representing their interests
Board with relevant industry experience AAPM life member and
as their Board Chair.” member of several
Both Mrs Chaffey and Mr Smith bring Medicare Australia
Mrs Chaffey, a former National consultative and
with them an extensive amount of
Director of AAPM with almost 30 years’ working groups
practice management experience
experience as a practice manager,
accepted the position stating her together with representation on a
passion for the profession and desire number of relevant industry Boards,
to promote the significance of committees and working parties.
accreditation will ensure long-term Their experience is welcomed as
implementation and growth. AGPAL and QIP continue to lead the
“To ensure quality outcomes and industry in the provision of professional,
patient safety are achieved and uncomplicated and worry-free
maintained, we must continue accreditation.
5| Issue 1 – 2011
Free superannuation service cuts
red tape for medical practices
Medical practices are among the early adopters Queanbeyan’s Rutledge Medical Clinic Practice uses
of a free government service that simplifies paying the service to cut time spent on superannuation from
employees’ superannuation. an hour to 15 minutes a month.
Administered by Medicare Australia, the Small Eligible small businesses only need to register, receive
Business Superannuation Clearing house allows a password and enter their employees’ details once
businesses with fewer than 20 employees to pay all
to begin making monthly or quarterly payments.
their employees’ super through a single, secure online
transaction. Human Services Portfolio General Manager Hank
Practices in Central Coast New South Wales, Jongen said eligible small businesses that register
Queanbeyan and Perth were among the first to today could be using the system in time to make the
register. next quarterly superannuation guarantee payment
The Woodlands Family General Practice in Perth cut off date of 28 January.
uses the clearing house to streamline payments to 12 “Register now to discover how the clearing house
different superannuation funds. reduces the time and paperwork involved in making
“I used to dedicate an afternoon to mostly writing multiple payments to different superannuation funds,”
cheques; it was very tedious and I didn’t look forward Mr Jongen said.
to it at all,” Practice Manager Laura Swithenbank “More than 98% of payments to the clearing house
are processed within two business days,” Mr Jongen
“In a busy practice, the clearing house means I have said.
extra time for more important jobs to support medical
staff and patients.” “The clearing house has already been used to make
17,500 employee payments with a value of over $10
The Bay Village Medical Centre, in Bateau Bay on the
NSW Central Coast, uses the clearing house to pay million.”
eight super funds — each with different rules, systems To register or find more information about the clearing
and payment methods. house go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/super.
Medicare Australia Federal AMA welcomes
releases online healthcare national health agreement
identifiers functions Following the COAG meeting in February, AMA
In December, Medicare Australia released a range President Dr Andrew Pesce welcomed the signal that
of new online Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service a genuine national commitment to health reform has
functions for health professionals and organisations. emerged.
These new functions are available to authorised users “There is still a long way to go, but we finally have
of Medicare Australia’s Health Professional Online
consensus and commitment from all our governments
Services (HPOS) who are also registered with the HI
to fix our health system,” Dr Pesce said.
They include a directory of HI providers and “There are promises of more beds, more money,
organisations (where consent has been given to the greater transparency, more local control, greater
HI Service to display their details) and capabilities clinician input, and less red tape.
for users to view and maintain their organisation or “If delivered, this is a recipe for a better health system.
provider HI details. The new functions will help HI As always, the devil will be in the detail.
Service users to view and manage HI information.
“The AMA will watch closely to ensure that GPs remain
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) individual certificates
the foundation of primary care and that health
are required to access the full range of HI Service
HPOS functions. Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHI) funding goes directly to the services that will make a
search functions are not available through HPOS. difference.
People using Medicare Australia’s Online Services can “It is imperative that funds from the National Funding
view their IHI and a history of organisations that have Pool are delivered as directly as possible to the Local
searched for and retrieved their IHI number. Hospital Networks.”
To register for PKI, or for more information on HPOS,
Dr Pesce said that it is vital that Medicare Locals must
support general practices, and not divert services
To register for the HI Service, or for more information,
from GPs or engage in fund-holding arrangements
that divert funding from GPs and their patients.
6 | Issue 1 – 2011
How e-health can help improve men’s health
Currently five men die every hour in Australia from “This is hugely significant in dealing with men’s health
potentially preventable illnesses, which are not and well-being and it will also eliminate the need to
detected early enough. Yet despite this staggering duplicate tests and procedures, reducing the time
number, men are still reluctant to see a GP. men need to spend at a medical clinic, which is a
Dr Ronald McCoy, a board member of a men’s health huge factor why men stay away in the first place.
program, the M5 Project, developed by the Royal “E-health makes pro-active preventive health
Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), measures easier, which will improve treatment
is hoping that new e-health systems may help to outcomes significantly. Electronic records give us a
detect preventable illnesses earlier and ultimately huge advantage and with other electronic systems,
lead to better health outcomes for men. could lead to the biggest gain in men’s health we
“Men face a higher death rate than women when have seen yet,” said Dr McCoy.
it comes to cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA)
respiratory disease and mental health problems
is the lead organisation supporting the national
including suicide and accidents. Many of these
vision for e-health in Australia and to ensure that
conditions are preventable. Men tend to present
GPs can deliver the highest standard of care to their
later with health problems, visit the GP less frequently
patients, the RACGP is working with NEHTA on what is
and when they do, they have shorter consultations
reasonable, workable and useful for GPs in the area
and are less likely to come in for preventative health
The RACGP recently launched a new online health
“With one electronic record, we can build a
tool, M5 health online, which allows men to carry out
comprehensive medical history for a patient that can
be accessed by any GP. This means that no matter a personalised health check, followed by access to
where they seek medical help, the GP can see how no nonsense, practical advice on where to go and
long it was since the patient had a cholesterol check, what to do if their lifestyle changes.
monitor their blood pressure, and talk to the patient For more information about the M5 Project and M5
about any significant lifestyle changes. health online, visit www.m5project.com.au.
HPOS makes it easier for you to do business
with Medicare Australia
Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) gives Track and Scale—view progress towards reducing return of service
health professionals and delegated practice staff obligations as part of the Rural Health Workforce initiative
access to Medicare Australia’s online services Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service—view your provider and
through a single entry point. organisation HI details and access a directory of HI providers.
HPOS continues to provide a range of services to make it easier to do
More and more services are becoming available for health business with Medicare Australia, such as:
professionals through HPOS. New services recently added include: Patient Verification—confirm and search patient details
Practice Incentives Program (PIP)—register for PIP and individual manage existing banking details
a secure email facility—email Medicare Australia and subscribe to
General Practice Immunisation Incentive (GPII)—register and receive statements online
update details for GPII
Medicare services—Easyclaim processing and payment reports,
General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) and HECS
manage provider details and add a new Medicare practice location.
Reimbursement Scheme—update banking details, apply for a Rural
Relocation Incentive Grant, lodge HECS applications and more For more information go to www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/hpos
7| Issue 1 – 2011
AGPAL offers relief to flood-
AGPALs Exceptional Circumstances Policy, endorsed they were destroyed by the worst flooding we’ve seen
by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), in decades,” Dr Clark said.
offers flood-affected general practices undergoing “Our Exceptional Circumstances Policy is designed
accreditation the security of maintaining their status to ensure general practices currently undertaking
and access to the Practice Incentive Payment (PIP). accreditation can maintain their accreditation status
With 75% of Queensland significantly impacted by the and access to the PIP whilst they continue to operate
flood disaster, many general practices in Queensland, out of a temporary location and/or rebuild.”
including some in New South Wales and Victoria have Under this DoHA-supported policy, AGPAL is able to
been significantly affected. provide “deemed accreditation” which will enable
In recognition that this year will be an extremely the practice to retain access to Medicare’s PIP
challenging one, AGPAL is able to assist general scheme, whilst also allowing the practice to defer
practices undergoing accreditation over the next their survey visit for a period up to 12 months.
year via its Exceptional Circumstances Policy. “We want to reassure general practices damaged
AGPAL and Quality in Practice (QIP) Chief Executive or destroyed by the recent flooding that their
Officer Dr Stephen Clark has advised the policy accreditation status is guaranteed,” Dr Clark said.
applies to general practices that have been required “We’re here to work with practices to ensure they
to relocate to other premises or those which have don’t miss out on Medicare’s PIP so they can
been affected in any way by the flooding. concentrate on the more important task of servicing
“There are a number of general practices across their patients and rebuilding their practices.”
central and southeast Queensland, New South Practices impacted in any way by the flooding,
Wales and Victoria which are now faced with the requiring deemed accreditation are advised to
unfortunate task of rebuilding their practices after contact AGPAL on 1300 362 111.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs:
Fee schedule for medical services - 1 November 2010
Access to accurate information about DVA fee • Relative Value Guide (RVG)
arrangements is crucial to a provider’s ability to • Diagnostic Imaging Fee Schedule, and
deliver services to DVA patients. In previous years • Pathology Fee Schedule.
DVA mailed copies of fee schedules to individual
providers each November. Unfortunately this has Hard copies of DVA fee schedules
not proved to be efficient or effective as each year If medical providers require one or more hard copies
thousands of copies are being “returned to sender” of the fee schedule, they will now be able to choose
and destroyed by DVA and many providers are not one of the following options:
receiving their schedules in a timely manner. • Order online at http://www.dva.gov.au/service_
DVA is now implementing a more targeted approach providers/pages/forms.aspx
to providers who wish to receive copies of DVA fee • Fax order to 1800 671 670
schedules. It is envisaged that this strategy will ensure
• Telephone 1800 155 355.
all providers have access to the DVA fee schedules in
a timely and efficient manner. Pre-ordering will ensure providers receive copies of
the schedule as soon as they are available, at the
DVA fee schedules online correct postal address.
DVA will continue to provide: DVA recently sent an advice to healthcare providers
• updated fee information electronically to regarding this change in process. Unfortunately,
software vendors for inclusion in practice software an administrative error occurred which resulted in
programs, and some providers receiving mail addressed to another
• fee schedules online, so that providers can provider.
download an electronic version at their own DVA would like to apologise for any inconvenience
convenience via www.dva.gov.au. caused as a result of this administrative error and
This link contains: want to ensure you that the service you provide to our
• Local Medical Officer (LMO) Fee Schedule veteran community is valued and appreciated.
• Derived fees Ready Reckoner Local Medical If you have any queries regarding these
Officers arrangements, please contact DVA direct on
• Repatriation Medical Fees Schedule (RMFS) 1300 550 457.
8 | Issue 1 – 2011
In your home, on the road or at work
Guild Insurance has you covered.
You may already know that Guild Insurance can cover your practice and staff, but did you know we also offer home and car insurance? For
To apply go online or Freecall us.
guildinsurance.com.au 1300 988 988
Guild Insurance Limited AFSL No: 233791. Guild Insurance supports your association through payment of referral fees for
certain insurance you take out with Guild. For full Terms and Conditions Guild www.guildgroup.com.au/lovemypet
*Terms and Conditions apply, visit www.guildinsurance.com.au/competitions for more detailsgo to Insurance supports your association through payment of
Guild Insurance Limited AFSL No. 233791
referral fees for certain insurance you take out with Guild. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) in deciding whether to acquire
any of these products. You can obtain the relevant PDS by contacting Guild Insurance on 1300 988 988. Guild Insurance Limited AFSL No: 233791.
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9| Issue 1 – 2011
The Australian Association of Practice Managers is here to support you, provide education
and learning, and keep you abreast of technology and legislation changes that affect the
way you operate your business in everyday practice life. Remember AAPM is a not-for-profit
organisation and is run by volunteers. Support your state’s AAPM branch and attend their
events. Let them know what you need and what you want in education and support for your
STATES NEWS practice, and our promise will be to deliver what you need. Make sure you have the latest
event information by checking the AAPM website regularly: www.aapm.org.au.
Wacky waiter and psychic
medium steal the show in SA
South Australia held their annual
Christmas wind-up on December 14. This
event was attended by Alan Holy aka
“Manuel – wacky waiter” who stole the
show with his magic and antics. He had
everyone laughing and interacting as he
made his way from table to table, wowing
his audience with his magical talent and
Wowing the attendees also was psychic
and medium Zoe McDonald, with her
predictions and communications to those
who have crossed over. She had the room
in a buzz with disbelief and awe of her Catharine and Kylie from Medfin, proud sponsors
accuracy and unbelievable talent. The of AAPM throughout 2010, and in the centre is SA
AAPM committee member Denise Page
night went well and truly over schedule, as
attendees did not want to leave until they
had a reading from Zoe.
Apart from being wowed by Alan Holy
and Zoe McDonald a big thank you was
given to SA AAPM sponsors, Adelaide
Pathology Partners and Medfin Insurance,
who supported the SA AAPM throughout
2010. Thank you was also was made to the
new committee who dedicate their time
voluntarily to AAPM, and SA Secretariat
Kim Monu. These people make events
happen for SA AAPM members.
Jenny Lambert, committee member and
organiser of the Xmas event, with Helen
Goodwin from Adelaide Pathology Partners who
supported SA AAPM throughout 2010
Attendees at the Xmas function held at the Alan Holy aka “Wacky Waiter Emanuel” with
Osmond Function Centre, Norwood Raelene Fry, committee member
10 | Issue 1 – 2011
South Australia has a bonanza year
of education, learning, and fun planned
2011 is jam packed for South Australian members with Networking night with a
an exciting variety line up of presenters, speakers, difference is back due to
and workshops ready to deliver information, learning, the popularity and success
and networking to our members. This information will from the previous year.
be delivered in a fun, invigorating way that will have This night will have you
you refreshed, enthused, in touch, and networked connecting, learning, and
with managers and staff from other practices around above all laughing and Group Captain Reg
the state. enjoying a fun night filled with Carruthers,Commander
February 9 activities, games, and prizes. Aerospace Operational
Mediation for managers Also back by popular Support Group of the
A breakfast meeting at BarZaar, 166 Unley Road, demand from our Christmas Edinburgh Airforce Base
Unley, is being presented by Gary Edwards, a Function will be medium and
lawyer and magician who is also a professional psychic Zoe McDonald. You will also be pampered
speaker, business consultant, and training mediator. on the night with hand massages using beautiful skin
Previously he was a researcher into professional care products with Marissa Cavalaro.
performance and workplace learning, and a lecturer
in postgraduate management studies. Mediation for
Staff development day
managers will have you achieving better outcomes,
SA’s annual staff development day will be an
stronger relationships, less conflicts and tension,
absolutely sensational day. Once again it will
coupled with greater learning and development.
be engaging and entertaining, whilst also being
March 5-6 informativewith a variety of different speakers and
Rural management and staff development presenters to choose from. The day will be followed by
conference a dinner and AGM where you will be entertained by
A two-day conference at Port Augusta will bring a guest speaker and dancers who will keep you “on
together speakers and presenters who will enthuse, your toes”.
motivate, inform, and inspire you. Commencing
Saturday afternoon and being held at the Standpipe
Gulf Motor Inn and concluding Sunday after lunch,
An EBA Workshop is being held in Adelaide. This
this conference has been designed to cater for rural
workshop will focus on obtaining the information
practices, mindful of the distances they need to travel
from varying disciplines of healthcare practices to
to attend. A bus is being organised from Adelaide
roll out an agreement that is structured specifically
also, so anyone from Adelaide wishing to attend,
for healthcare practices. We are looking for practice
register your interest now and get on board. You can’t
managers interested in being involved in this
afford to miss this event.
workshop, to put forward their ideas and concepts of
Get your partner to pack their golf sticks to enjoy a what they would like to see in an EBA. David Wenban
game of golf or just relax and enjoy the backdrop of will be at the Port Augusta rural conference and will
the Flinders Ranges. Saturday night dinner is included speak on EBAs at his workshop. Make sure you speak
in this sensational education package (partners with David at this conference to find out more.
need to pay for their ticket) and you will be inspired
in leading your practice when listening to our special September 14
guest speaker, Group Captain Reg Carruthers, Breakfast meeting
Commander Aerospace Operational Support Group This event will be a breakfast meeting and the
of the Edinburgh Airforce Base, as he talks to you speaker for this event and location will be advised via
about leadership challenges, benefits, and rewards. the AAPM national website and flyers. Keep your eye
open it is sure to be a bonanza event.
During the breaks you can take time out and
be pampered and have a hand massage and October
experience sensational skin products on offer. Games, National conference Perth
prizes ,and fun networking will have you not only Don’t forget to put this date in your calendar and
learning, but laughing and enjoying your weekend. book your tickets. You can’t afford to miss an AAPM
May 17 national conference. Check out the national AAPM
website to download a form and register.
Networking night with a difference
Networking is an important component of everyday December 2
life whether it is for social or work reasons. The Christmas dinner and celebrations
ability to learn and pass on information to or from Help us celebrate the year that was and the great
our colleagues and peers allows developmental year that will be ahead.
processes to occur within our practices. It also gives Keep your eye out for registration flyers at your
brainstorming and problem solving solutions, whilst,
practice or on the national website for all of these
at the same time, allows us to connect with our fellow
events or email email@example.com now to have your
practice managers and staff who, like yourself, are at
registration form emailed to you direct.
varying stages of their career.
11 | Issue 1 – 2011
Queensland’s year-end dinner
offered networking opportunity
STATES NEWS At AAPM Queensland’s
Year-End Dinner at Era Bistro
in Brisbane on November 25,
over 40 members and guests
celebrated another year and
heard invited speaker, Dr
Gino Pecoraro, speak about
his experience with and
without his practice manager.
Dr Pecoraro is president
of the Australian Medical
The dinner was kindly
sponsored by Flower and Hart
“Each business will need to assess the
members, a year of challenge likelihood of such events on an individual
As most of Queensland and parts of basis.
Victoria and New South Wales started “It is also a great time to do a full insurance
the year with flood disaster, challenges review including your own personal
increased for healthcare practices, both insurance arrangements.”
in caring for the injured and ill as well as in
The next major event on the state’s
rebuilding practices in some cases.
practice management calendar is Staff
AAPM Queensland held its first mid-week Development Day on Saturday June 4.
networking drinks on February 16, just over
Always a popular event, the committee is
a month after the state was inundated
encouraging early registrations to ensure
with water and mud.
The evening offered an opportunity for
members to air their problems and share QlD CAlENDAR
Writing in the state’s recent newsletter in 5 Diploma of Professional Practice
January, President Carolyn Ingram said she Management
could not recall ever seeing widespread 8.00am – 5.30pm
flood devastation across such a large area Level 1, Mater Medical Centre
of Queensland. 15 Committee Meeting – Teleconference
“My thoughts and prayers are with all of 19 Certificate IV, 8.00am – 5.30pm
those families in Central Queensland who Level 1, Mater Medical Centre
now face a massive clean-up and also 20 Certificate IV, 8.00am – 5.30pm
with those further south who are yet to see Level 1, Mater Medical Centre
the devastating flood waters cross their 23 & 24 Continuing Education Workshop
paths. Human Resources Masterclass
“My heart goes out to all those who have South Side Brisbane / Caboolture
been affected by these floods and I hope Presenter: Amanda Towe
your recovery comes quickly. APRIl
“On reflection, this is an event which spurs 6 Continuing Education Workshop
us as practice managers to check all of Managing Staff Performance
our insurance arrangements, making sure Presenter: Tracey Jessie, Flower and
our practice has everything up to date Hart Lawyers
and that our businesses are covered for 12 Committee Meeting – Teleconference
such events. 16 Diploma of Professional Practice
Flood, fire, burglary, power failure, Management
spoilage, motor burn-out and natural 8.00am – 5.30pm
disaster are all events that you should Level 1, Mater Medical Centre
consider being insured against.
12 | Issue 1 – 2011
New South Wales calendar Western Australia calendar
Sydney – Foundation Knowledge for the Manager 18 Bullying and harassment in the workplace
Angela Mason-Lynch / Marina Fulcher
31 E-seminar – Data cleansing for e-health
Canberra – Foundation Knowledge for the Manager
APRIL Geraldton – Professional performance in the
Moree – Receptionist Development Day & Foundation workplace
2 Knowledge for the Manager 21 Bunbury – Professional performance in the workplace
Lesley Macey/ Tania Worroll June
7 Central Coast – Networking Dinner 2 E-seminar – Excel spreadsheets
5 UNEP – AAPM NSW Taking Control CIV
29 Excel course
Parramatta – Receptionist Development Day &
7 Foundation Knowledge for the Manager SePTeMBeR
Gary Smith/Angela Mason-Lynch 22 E-seminar – Australian health standards
9 Canberra – Networking Dinner OCTOBeR
13 Orange – Networking Dinner AAPM national conference:
Orange – Receptionist Development Day & Foundation Performance, persistence,
13 & 14 Knowledge for the Manager perfection Burswood Resort
Sue Gentles/ Tracey Duddek Convention Centre
Bowral – Receptionist Development Day & Foundation nOVeMBeR
14 Knowledge for the Manager
24 E-seminar – Finance
Helen Eirth/ Angela Mason-Lynch
14 UNEP – AAPM NSW Managing a Practice DIP For further information, please contact via
Coffs Harbour – Receptionist Development Day & email or
20 & 21 Foundation Knowledge for the Manager visit www.aapm.org.au
Tania Worroll/ Lesley Macey
professional O FF*
development day offers
for A de: A only
te co fees
AAPM Victoria has organised a Team Professional
Development Day on Saturday March 26 at the
Moonee Valley Racing Club. Australia’s most popular
The programs is packed with exciting speakers, Practice Management software
including a 2.5-hour session with Amanda Gore
call us today for a quote
speaking on Motivation for Your Team. Following this
is the opportunity to network over lunch and visit the 1300 300 161
After lunch you can learn from the guru of networking,
Gary Smith, about ways to get in touch within the
Dr Nathan Pinskier will present on e-health, and finally
AAPM Victoria President Brett McPherson will close the
session talking about our roles in healthcare.
The Practice Manager of the Year award will also
be presented, so please join us. You will not be
disappointed. SUPPORTING HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AT THE POINT OF CARE
For information, contact AAPM Victoria on 1300 651
334 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the AAPM
website at www.aapm.org.au and go to the state www.hcn.com.au
events page for registration forms. This is a must-
attend professional development day.
13 | Issue 1 – 2011
Applies to all healthcare practices
Financial management, Human resource
by Professor Geoff management, Business and clinical operations
Meredith and Colleen
Survey practice profiles:
Practice fees, patient numbers,
Geoff Meredith is
of UNE Partnerships’
Manager Development Further details of practices represented Annual fees are then converted to
Sullivan, a former by managers in the 2009 salary survey average fees per day for practices and
AAPM national and are presented in four tables, the first these range from a figure less than a
Qld state president, two identifying practice size in terms $1,000 per day to more than $10,000 per
is a practice of average annual fees and average day. Some 36% of the practices reported
management frees per day, the third table also links between $2,000 per day and $5,000 per
to practice size in terms of number of day, while 22% reported more than $9,000
patients on average that are linked to the in fees per day. These figures from the
practice, and finally a summary of billing table provide a clear indication of the
policy of the 900 practices in the study. range of practice size and this could be
Table 1 indicates the wide range of related to earlier tables indicating salary
average annual practice fees from less levels and benefits received for practice
than $500,000 per annum to more than managers involved with various practices
$5,000,000 per annum. The table indicates in terms of size.
This is the 4th that about 26% of the practices reported Table 2. Average Fees Per Day
fees of less than $1,000,000 with another
salary survey 35% reporting between $1,000,000 and Average Fees % of
Per Day Responses Respondents
done by $2,000,000 per annum. At the other end of
the scale, some 13% reported more than Less than
AAPM. It is the 19 3.5%
$4,000,000 per annum in fees. $1;000
only national Table 1 provides details of the range of
$1,000 - $2,000 60 11.1%
salary survey annual fees for practices in the study.
$2,001 - $3,000 79 14.6%
for healthcare Table 1. Average Annual Practice Fees
$3,001 - $4,000 65 12.0%
practice Average Annual
Practice Fees Responses % of $4,001 - $5,000 61 11,3%
Under $500,000 39 7.8% $5,001 - $6,000 47 8.7%
$501,000 $6,001 - $7,000 37 6.8%
-$750,000 $7,001:- $8,000 34 6.3%
$751,000 - $1M 49 9.8% $8,001 - $9,000 17 3.1%
$1,000,001 -$1.5M 90 18.0% $9,001 -
$1,500,001 -$2M 83 16.6% $10,000
$2,000,001 - $2.5M 45 9.0% Table 3 also provides an indicator of
practice size – in this case, based on the
$2,500,001 - $3M 37 7.4%
average number of patients per day. It
$3,000,001 - $3.5M 29 5.8% is interesting to note that some 46% or
$3,500,001 - $4M 22 4.4% practices reported less than 75 patients
per day, while at the other extreme about
$4,000,001 - $4.5M 8 1.6% 7% of practices reported more than 250
$4,500,001 - $5M 12 2.4% patients per day. Table 3 documents the
range of patients treated by practices on
More than $5M 45 9.0%
a daily basis.
14 | Issue 1 – 2011
Table 3. Number of Patients Per Day The next article will look at responsibilities of practice
manages as reported in the 2009 Salary Survey.
Number of % of Total
These are important because they are likely to have
Patients Responses Respondents
a significant influence on salary levels and benefits
1-25 130 16.0% paid to practice managers. These responsibilities
26-50 151 18.6% cover such areas as practice financial management,
human resource management, planning,
51-75 92 11.3%
governance and professional development. This will
76-100. 113 14% provide the final picture from the 2009 salary survey.
101-125 84 10.3% Keep in mind that practice managers should obtain
126-150 71 8.7% a copy of the CD from AAPM documenting detailed
results of the survey.
151-175 34 4.2%
Table 4. Billing Policy
176-200 34 4.2%
201-225 28 3.4% % of Total
Billing type Responses Respondents
226-250 18 2.2%
Private billing 750 89.4%
251-275 16 2.0%
Bulk billing 554 66.1%
278-300 17 2.1%
Reduced fees for
More than 300 24 3.0% 330 39.3%
Finally in this article, Table 4 reviews billing policy, and Medicare online 468 55.8%
again it needs to be noted that the percentages
will not add up to 100% as the majority of practices schemes & 213 25.4%
reported multiple billing procedures. Private billing agreements
was reported by almost 90% or practices with two-
Hi Caps 83 9.9%
thirds reporting bulk billing and a high percentage
reporting Medicare online. Table 4 provides full details Eclipse 38 4.5%
of billing policy, which are likely to change over time Other 47 5.6%
as online billing and claiming becomes important for
Easyclaim 151 18.0%
practices and their patients.
AAPM Salary Survey 2009
This is AAPM’s 3rd salary survey– it is the only national salary survey for
healthcare practice managers in Australia.
The survey can be used to review and benchmark salary packages as well
as assist with ongoing remuneration and human resource planning strat-
egies. Data apply to general practice, specialist practice, dental practice,
allied health, and large and small practices.
AAPM Head Ofﬁce The information is clearly presented in legible tables with data from over
Level 1, 60 Lothian Street 900 practice managers around Australia, making it an essential source of
information for the healthcare industry.
North Melbourne, Vic 3051
Over 75 tables include: Salary by state and region, Education and qualif-
Ph: 1800 196 000 ications, Salary by practice type, Hourly rates, Employment status, Core
Fax: 03 9329 2524 responsibilities, Beneﬁts received.
Email: headofﬁce@aapm.org.au Contact AAPM National Ofﬁce to order your Salary Survey 2009 CD
• $30.00 for participants (completed the 2009 salary survey)
• $115.50 for individual members
• $198.00 for non-members
• $335.50 for organisations
Prices include 10% GST and postage & handling for up to 2 CDs
15 | Issue 1 – 2011
formance, Perfection. Persistence, Performance, Perfection.
AAPM National Conference
AAPM National Burswood Entertainment Centre, Perth WA
Burswood 18 – 21 October 2011
Perth WA The small but very energetic and vibrant Join us in Perth!
18-21 October 2011 Western Australian organising committee Shayne
looks forward to your participation in the Murray, Dot
2011 event in Perth. Melkus, Kathy
Invited speakers are diverse and of interest McGeorge and
to all practice managers and their staff. Narelle Supanz.
An innovation this year is a Practice Social program
Registration fee. Check out the registration Inclusive
details to see whether this would be of functions
benefit to your practice. for full-time
Visit the website www.cdesign.com.au/ registrations will
aapm2011 for the Provisional Program, include:
Pre-conference workshops, Registration, • Welcome
and Social functions. The website will be reception, Tuesday evening
updated as new information becomes • Happy hour, Wednesday evening
available. Please contact the Secretariat, • Conference gala dinner, Friday
Conference Design, if you require any evening, dress up for “A night of a
information about the conference – info@ thousand stars” and dance the evening
cdesign.com.au. away with Peace, Love and all that
A sponsorship and trade prospectus is Stuff.
available for download along with a floor
plan showing our current sponsors and
• First time attendees dinner at a
exhibitors. AAPM is grateful to the Platinum
Burswood restaurant, Tuesday
sponsor NEHTA for generous sponsorship of
• Matilda Bay, optional dinner on
Sponsored by the 2011 national conference.
Registration is now open so please take
• UNEP Cocktail Reception and Awards
advantage of the Early Bird which closes
on 26 August.
Terry Hawkins: • Create the path to healthy leadership
The architecture of – dependent/independent/
In this highly interactive • Connect and create rapport with
session, Terry Hawkins will through directional dialogue
inspire you to achieve • Handle resistance and conflict
greater communication situations with professionalism and ease
and understanding with
• Maintain positive energy in stressful
your clients, peers, and team by providing
experiential exercises and insights that situations.
produce greater harmony, increased This powerful presentation will demonstrate
cohesiveness and absolute alignment to how effective architecture of language
the goal. creates the infrastructure for clarity and
This high energy, information packed connection. Along with Terry’s trademark
session will show the audience how to: humor and energy, this is a must do session
• Understand the fundamentals of that will influence the communication
effective communication streams in all parts of your life and practice
• Structure the architecture of language management.
to create powerful outcomes Terry will present a keynote address
• Turn negative situations into positive, on “The Architecture of Language” on
relationship building experiences Wednesday morning.
formance, Perfection. Persistence, Performance, Perfection.
16 | Issue 1 – 2011
Persistence, Performance, Perfection. Persistence, Performan
Michelle Ray CSP: sense of well-being, and become more self-
Why leadership is an “inside directed.
job”™ - Five ways to practise 2. Harness energy and channel it constructively
personal leadership It may be surprising to consider that negative
emotions have value. Throughout history, there
Leadership begins with leading
have been many examples of individuals who felt
oneself. A title on a business card or
anger and passion regarding injustices in the world
a placard on a desk or door does
not automatically make someone a and were able to channel their energy positively
leader. It may give the impression of self-importance to achieve extraordinary outcomes. Therefore,
and achievement; however, the title alone is not the true value of such emotions is determined by
enough. Neither is a job description that notes how they are expressed. In the words of Dr Michael
functions associated with managing people. Rather, it LeBoef: “Adversity is an experience, not a final
seems to me that there is a pre-requisite for being an act.” Think of what is possible when you choose
effective leader of a team or within any organization. to live in your imagination and begin to channel
positive energy, commitment and belief in this
A leader is someone who recognizes that character
is the greatest test of true leadership. Honing this
specific talent is far more significant in the grand 3. Make work-life balance a priority
scheme of things because human beings will The term “work-life balance” is not an oxymoron!
progress further in their life paths by mastering the Effective people recognize that taking time out
capacity to relate to and communicate with the to relax for half an hour to an hour during a busy
vast array of personality types, cultures, genders, working day actually rejuvenates the mind and
and demographics that make up the human race. A body. Think about where you expend energy as
business title conveying “leader” is no proof of having well as the values you live by. Are these two areas
acquired this gift. congruent? For example, when we say family time
Furthermore, one doesn’t have to be in a workplace or living a healthy lifestyle is a high priority, yet we
to be a leader. A leader is someone who has spend more than 50 hours a week at work, we
grasped the ability to consciously take charge of are compromising our values with paradoxical
their thoughts, and consequently their actions, in any priorities.
situation. A leader is someone who is clear about their 4. Surround yourself with positive people
values and applies them on a regular basis. In other
There is no doubt that the company we keep
words, having values and living by one’s values are
says a lot about who we are. We may not be able
two distinctive propositions.
to choose our families or who we work with, but
This has very little to do with moving up the we can choose who we socialize with. Negative
management ladder into a leadership role. During attitudes are contagious only to the degree that
volatile times, individuals and organizations need to we allow ourselves to “buy in”. Rather than wasting
be reminded more than ever that we can control our our energy by listening or trying to change others,
own reality. our job is to model positive behaviour (if we must
The old adage “attitudes are caught not taught” be around whiney types) or to choose new friends!
serves us now as a timely message. We can choose a 5. Recognize life’s learning opportunities
“get a grip” approach when times get tough, which
Rarely do we acknowledge hurdles or obstacles
implies a short-term methodology of coping, or we
in life as opportunities, especially when we are in
can choose “to manage”, which involves developing
a mindset of resiliency for the long haul. the midst of a personal or professional crisis. These
are the moments when we can learn the most,
Taking charge of ourselves requires the discipline to
although a heighted state of anxiety will often
take the following actions:
cloud our judgement. When we remember the
1. Become aware of your inner dialogue wisdom of acknowledging, accepting and then
Numerous studies in the field of psychology have letting go of what we cannot change, we can
proven the connection between negative and make headway and move forward. In the words of
positive thoughts contributing to a self-fulfilling Oscar Wilde: “The aim of life is self-development.
prophecy. In fact, some research has proven the To realize one’s nature perfectly, that is what each
connection between optimism and longevity. It of us is here for.”
all begins with how we choose to interpret events
About Michelle Ray
that occur in our lives. If it is true that we think
Born in Melbourne, Australia, and now residing in
approximately 60,000 thoughts each day and
Vancouver, Canada, Michelle Ray is a leadership and
80% of these thoughts are negative, we may
workplace motivation expert who demonstrates a
unknowingly be creating our own demise. By
deep understanding of team dynamics, interpersonal
increasing our awareness of destructive thought
communication, service excellence, and personal
patterns, we can improve our self-esteem and
Persistence, Performance, Perfection. Persistence, Performan
17 | Issue 1 – 2011
rformance, Perfection. Persistence, Performance, Perfection.
For the past 15 years, Michelle has worked with Advantages of reflective communication
hundreds of leaders and their teams by helping them • Non impulsive, logic-based decisions
create effective business relationships and positive • Decisions are self-generated, and less externally
workplaces. As a sought-after international keynote influenced
speaker, seminar leader, and author, Michelle
• Big picture is usually considered
has earned the “Certified Speaking Professional
Designation”, held by less than 600 people worldwide. Disadvantages of reflective communication
• Time consuming
She speaks passionately about individual
responsibility, the impact of attitude in the workplace, • No point of reference except for yourself
the importance of outstanding leadership and the • Can lead to pensiveness, worry, and complaining.
value of positive communication and influence. Refractive communication is like playing cards with
Her core message (and title of her upcoming an open hand where everyone can see what you are
book): “Leadership – An Inside Job”, resonates with holding. It helps with bouncing ideas off other people,
audiences at any level, as she reminds her attendees clarify issues, and expressing how you feel. Refractive
that leadership is a mindset, not a job title. communicators like to include you in their decision-
Michelle will present a plenary session and two making process so they can get clearer about what
workshop at AAPM 2011. Please visit her website www. they want to do.
michelleray.com for contact details and additional Advantages of refractive communication
information. • It allows an inclusion of new ideas and points of
• Faster resolution of conflict or interpersonal issues
Smart communication wins
• Expedient communication channel
The way you process pressure often
Disadvantages of refractive communication
determines how productive you can
• Can lead to a battle of attack verses defence
be. Some keep their tension inside
and rethink things over and over until • Impulsive decisions can be generated in a group
they have an answer. Others end up setting
talking, yelling, crying, or debating • Needs to be with other refractive communicators
their way to a resolution. Being more Each communication process will work well in
personally productive is not a question of which different settings, with different people. Find out the
process is better, but when and how to use each communication process that your team, clients, and
process. colleagues prefer so that you can communicate
One particular piece of research found that when issues quickly and increase your personal productivity
men under stress looked at angry faces, they seemed without feeling that others are holding you back or
to disengage (according to brain scans showing getting off task … it may just be their communication
lower activity in brain areas responsible for processing process that is getting in the way.
other people’s emotions), whilst stressed-out women Final thoughts
showed more activity in those brain regions.1 When leading a team, or building a client relationship,
Psychologists have long noted that stress and pressure practise trying to read their communication process.
affects men and women differently. Women tend to Then, get clear on what your communication process
seek out social support, while men are more likely to is, and be adaptable enough to find a way that
withdraw. It seems that when women are stressed, allows the two to work together.
social and emotional areas of the brain go on alert,
perhaps reflecting a tendency to reach out. The same
areas in men’s brains seem to disengage.1
About Michael licenblat
Whilst the research does reaffirm the stereotype Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych) is a resilience expert
that women are more likely than men to share who helps people in business bounce back fast from
their feelings and talk through their issues, it does pressure, stress, and burnout in their work and life. He
highlight two communication processes that are is a professional speaker, coach and author of three
useful to both men and women: reflective-refractive
To download your free special report on the
Reflective communication is like an internal
“Seven ways to prevent yourself becoming over-
conversation that you have with yourself.
worked, stressed-out, and run-down”, visit: www.
When you need to remove the noise, distraction, BounceBackFast.com.
and clutter from your thinking and get clear about
At the conference, Michael will a plenary session
your values, opinions and decisions. Reflective
on “How to handle difficult or demanding people
communicators like to withdraw and consider issues
– without becoming drained” and a workshop on
before committing to a decision.
rformance, Perfection. Persistence, Performance, Perfection.
18 | Issue 1 – 2011
Applies to all healthcare practices
AAPM WA member finalist
by Patricia Dunstan
Ellen street At the end of last year, Ellen Street to maintain our friendly family practice
Family Practice in Fremantle Western feel.
Australia became the proud recipient of Ellen Street Family Practice has provided
a certificate of recognition for Employer strong support of the deployment for Navy
of the Year 2010 for the Defence Reserves Reserve Officer Lt Steven Line since his
Support Council. employment in 2008 to respond to many
The event is organised by the Western urgent call-outs over the past two years,
Australian Committee of the Defence including one tour of Papua New Guinea
Reserves Support Council and recognises with the US Navy hospital ship, one tour in
employers who have supported their Papua New Guinea for training exercise,
reservist employees. Indonesia for the earthquake disaster
Ellen Street Family Practice was nominated relief effort, and three training duties in
by Lt Steve Line, practice nurse at Ellen Queensland.
Street. The award was presented by His The awards night was a very exciting event
Excellency Dr Ken Michaels, Governor of – a very formal black tie and evening
Western Australia, to Patricia Dunstan, dress occasion with all service personnel
practice manager of Ellen Street. dressed in their finest military uniforms.
The practice won the small business award The evening commenced with the
from 12 other companies. There were bagpipes to welcome the guests to pre-
32 businesses nominated for the overall dinner drinks, then bugle call to announce
Employer of the Year, with the main award that the dinner was to be served.
going to a very large company which This was followed by the official call
The practice employs hundreds of workers and many to the mess officer to announce that
service personnel. Ellen Street Family the mess was assembled, then on to a
won the small
Practice is a small employer and was very truly magnificent meal ending with the
business award proud to be recognised for employing a traditional toasts the Queen and the
reservist in the navy and allowing him time President of America. Next was the final
from 12 other
out to attend naval duties. bagpipes and traditional drinking from
companies. Ellen Street Family Practice opened on a ceremonial skull, then on to the official
November 3, 2003, in one of Fremantle’s presentation of the awards.
gracious heritage homes at the corner of We at Ellen Street Family Practice are
Ellen and Ord Streets near the Fremantle rewarded not only in monetary ways
Pool and Fremantle Arts Centre. (from the navy) but by the wealth and
Currently we comprise 10 GPs two experience that Steve brings to the
registrars, a practice manager, four practice through his skills as a naval officer,
part-time practice nurses, and seven ED and trauma nurse.
receptionists. We also have medical I would highly recommend to any
students from Notre Dame and the employer, if the opportunity arises,
University of Western Australia and nursing to employ a reservist as staff and the
students from Edith Cowan. Our aim is to practice as a whole will benefit from the
“grow” to fill our five consulting rooms and experience and knowledge they have.
19 | Issue 1 – 2011
une Applies to all healthcare practices
T: 1800 288 622 Human resource management,
edu.au Governance and organisational dynamics
edu.au Leadership in the 21st century
The emergence of systematic research includes the following as leadership
into leadership during the last attributes in demand:
century has generated a rich body of • The ability to communicate a
theories, models, and tools to assist company’s vision
our understanding and development
• A preparedness to question and test
as leaders. And yet, views about the
concepts of leadership, what makes a
leader and what a leader does, are still • The ability to solve problems creatively
diverse and strongly conditioned by as well as analytically.
cultural background and life experiences. In the same issue, the Deloitte Leadership
In business today, leaders play an Academy states:
increasingly important role in helping The most in-demand skill sets ... include
individuals to cohere, and in empowering people management skills, fostering
them to use and develop their energies teamwork, bringing about change
and skills in productive and satisfying ways and innovation, business ethics and
– to the mutual benefit of themselves as communication.
individuals and groups, and the business
Leaders have a vision for the future and
as a whole.
make meaning of that vision for others.
In the healthcare sector the rate of They then energise, enable and empower
change is comparable to the business people to work collaboratively to achieve
Leaders create industry at large. There are practices (such that vision. Communication is therefore
as radiology, pathology, some general
an environment one of the most important skills in any
practices) that have multiple sites and leader’s repertoire.
in which people engage many clinical and support staff.
Leaders create an environment in which
So it is a given that strong leadership
are encouraged people are encouraged and supported to
skills are essential for successful practice
and supported management. learn and to develop themselves.
The challenge is to engage in relationships
to learn and
leadership and management which build trust, and which empower
to develop For a long time the terms “leadership” individuals to communicate and to work
themselves. and “management” were frequently used together collaboratively. Leadership is
interchangeably, but it is now recognised increasingly understood as embracing
that there is a difference, and both are emotional, spiritual and cultural
equally important. While management components as well as simply processes
focuses on achievement of goals and and behaviours.
tasks, leadership focuses on vision and
people. Everyone can be a leader
John Kotter’s influential article “What Leadership is manifested at all levels of
leaders really do” (2001) defines organisations every day, yet it often goes
management as “coping with complexity”, unrecognised and unrewarded. The reality
and leadership as “coping with change”. is that we all have a leadership role, and
What is clear from all of the research and successful businesses are those in which all
thinking on leadership is that there is no staff embrace that leadership role.
one single formula for leadership, nor Another myth about leadership in
is there one single type of person who organisations is that it is only senior people
becomes a leader. who provide leadership to junior people.
As the employee age profile changes,
leadership attributes more young people will be managing
In Focus, a BRW special report (2009), older team members. If leadership is
Christopher Bell, chief executive of the primarily about vision, making meaning,
Leadership Consortium in Melbourne, and collaborative effort, then the reality
20 | Issue 1 – 2011
is that leadership can be upwards, downwards, as a leader is how to implement change without
across, and with clients and stakeholders. generating resistance within the practice.
Emotional intelligence leadership and communication
Emotional intelligence is a critical skill for leaders Leaders cannot control the actions of others – they
at all levels within businesses, requiring them to
can only persuade and influence them. Those who
acknowledge and understand not only their own
are most skilled at influencing are therefore the most
feelings, but those of others, to respond appropriately
to them, and to effectively apply the energy and effective as leaders.
information from emotions in all aspects of daily life This is no less true for those of us with more subtle
and work. leadership roles who lead only by virtue of an ability
Day-to-day activity in a practice can include to influence others through persuasion, motivation,
pressure on practitioners and managers to operate explanation, and winning respect.
quickly and efficiently. Add sleep deprivation and
Communication is essentially about creating and
individuals are pushed to their limit. It is the emotional
intelligence skills of these people that influence their interpreting messages and it occurs most powerfully
ability to handle stressful situations. in the actions and symbols of the leader. Leaders are
communicating all the time. Their actions as much,
leading through change if not more, than their words are being noticed and
We are all aware of the constant change that besets interpreted constantly.
our practices and challenges our ability to keep
balance in our lives, remain focused in our work, In conclusion
maintain integrity in our decisions and be open in Leadership is a process to be enacted, not a place
our communication with staff. The impacts of doctor
or position that someone holds. Leadership skills can
shortages, changing employment and clinical
be developed – leaders are not born, they make
demands of practitioners, have seen the emergence
of new and different organisational structures (such as themselves through ongoing learning and experience
corporate, super clinic and multidisciplinary models) and through critical reflection on that experience.
as practices strive to remain competitive. Leaders are learners, constantly examining their own
Ask yourself: How do you feel about change? Can strengths and weaknesses and building their skills to
you keep adapting without a period of consolidation? ensure that they are able to meet the challenges of
How do those around you react to the changes and contemporary organisational life.
upheavals that occur in your practice? References
People respond to change differently, according Kotter, J.P. 1990,”What leaders really do”, Harvard Business
their personal style, the amount of change they Review, May-June (reprinted Harvard Business Review
have already experienced, other things occurring December 2001, pp85-97).
in their lives and the degree of control that they feel Business Review Weekly 2009, ‘Focus’ special report,
they have over the change. While some people September 17-23, p28.
welcome change enthusiastically, many do not. One Article adapted in part from UNE Partnerships’ Diploma of
of the greatest challenges for the practice manager Professional Practice Management.
Australian Association of Practice Managers Ltd
excellence in healthcare management
21 | Issue 1 – 2011
by Flower & Hart Applies to all healthcare practices
Core principle: Risk management
Workplace internet, email and
social media use policies
Christine Hadley, According to the Australian Bureau of Notwithstanding the relative relaxation
Solicitor Statistics, 90.5% of Australian businesses of policies around internet and email use
(07) 3233 1256, had an internet connection in 2009.1 Social in the workplace, survey data from the
media site Facebook claims to have United States indicates that more than
9,520,960 users in Australia2 and around 50% of businesses block employee access
400,000,000 active users in total.3 to social media sites like Facebook and
When the internet became widespread Twitter.4
in the workplace, there were concerns Some organisations, on the other hand,
that allowing employees internet access have taken the view that employees
during the work day would result in lost who use the internet and social media
productivity. However, many employers are potentially “ambassadors” for the
now allow employees to use the internet organisation and its brands. Rather than
Katrina Chambers, and email not only for their work but also trying to prevent access to the internet
for non-business purposes, subject to and/or social media during working hours,
(07) 3233 1207,
katrina.chambers@ certain guidelines. some organisations have implemented
flowerandhart.com.au “social media policies” alongside their
Internet and email policy internet and email policies, to leverage
An internet and email policy, preferably their employees’ social networks for the
communicated to employees in the benefit of the organisation.
employment contract when they
commence work, is essential to allow Main concerns
An internet and
employers to enforce rules around The main concerns around allowing
email policy, internet and email use, and to terminate employees to access to the internet, email
employment in the case of serious and social media are:
transgressions. a) lost productivity: employees may be
communicated Typically, internet and email policies distracted from their work if they have
to employees prohibit: unrestrained internet and email access
a) downloading unauthorised software (also called “social notworking”);
to the computer network, creating b) system security: employees may
employment or transmitting viruses or otherwise transmit or introduce viruses, malware
threatening the security of the network; or spyware to the computer system;
b) unlawful activities such as hacking, c) confidentiality: confidential information
when they sending “spam” emails or harassing or trade secrets may be “leaked”
commence others; outside the company;
c) transmitting or downloading offensive d) exposure to litigation: improper
(discriminatory or pornographic) employee use of the internet and
essential. material; particularly social media, may give rise
d) excessive personal use of the internet or to legal actions for breach of privacy
email. laws, infringement of intellectual
In Bassam Darwich and Kaal Kaal Australia property rights, defamation or vicarious
Limited (U2002/4250), the Australian harassment.
Industrial Relations Commission found that
the employer was justified in dismissing an
employee who used the internet to access The benefits identified by organisations
offensive material because the company which use the internet and social media
internet policy “popped up” each time a are:
user logged in to the computer system. A a) (online) marketing: employees using
dismissal may be held to be “unfair” if an blogs, forums and social media
organisation does not have an internet become “brand ambassadors” for the
and email policy, or if employees are not company, and some organisations
made aware of the policy. appear to take the view that it is
22 | Issue 1 – 2011
preferable to have current employees, rather ii) regulate the content of employee contributions
than former employees, contributing to the online to approved social media;
image of the organisation;
iii) restrict access to the internet or to certain
b) improved products and services: use of social
websites to certain times of day (e.g.,
media, online discussion forums and blogs allows
an organisation to extract ideas directly from
consumers of its goods and services for free; d) implementing a social media policy alongside the
c) improved customer service: being “in touch” with internet and email policy;
what consumers are saying about an organisation e) training employees on appropriate use of the
on the internet means complaints or criticisms can
internet and email, and social media (whether or
be identified and addressed;
not the organisation uses it as a marketing tool);
d) wider audience: by using its employees’ social
networks, an organisation may reach potential f) including a social media policy and internet/email
customers who do not engage with other methods policy in the employment contract.
of advertising; There are some industries where access to the
e) internal communication: instant messaging is used internet, email and social media is not appropriate or
by some organisations as a quicker alternative to
relevant, for example, where employees do not use a
computer. However, employers should still consider a
f) recruitment: in certain industries, the internet and
social media policy within the employment contract
social media are useful recruitment tools;
or training on appropriate use of social media. Many
g) employee job satisfaction/staff retention: it is
employees have access to the internet and social
reported that employees, particularly “Gen Y”
employees born after 1979, consider access to the media outside of the workplace, on their home
internet and social media to be an employment computers and mobile phones.
“perk” or benefit.
Regulation and control for employee misuse
The problem for most employers (which provide
At the very least, employees should be made aware
access to the internet) does not appear to be how
to prevent employees from using the internet and that posting or publishing work-related material or
social media, but how to educate employees on comments relating to employers or other employees
appropriate use and how to maximise the benefits to on the internet or social media may not be
the organisation. appropriate. A number of recent incidents involving
For example, employees should be made aware employees’ use of the internet, email and social
of the extent to which employers can access and media have resulted in dismissal, for example:
read personal email sent using work computers,
a) fraudulent sick days being exposed online;
and monitor web browsing activity. The Workplace
Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW) provides that b) an email dispute between employees being
surveillance must not be carried out unless it is leaked out of the organisation, potentially
in accordance with the employer’s policy and damaging the organisation’s reputation;
the employees have been notified of the policy
in advance, but not all states have equivalent c) photographs of a seriously ill patient (who later
legislation. In contrast, the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) died of his injuries) being posted on the internet by
has federal application and notwithstanding the hospital staff;
employee records exemption currently provided with
d) employees criticising their organisation or its staff
respect to the National Privacy Principles, there will still
on social media websites.
be circumstances in which employee privacy cannot
be unreasonably compromised. References
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 8167.0 - Selected
Employers can regulate and control employee use of
Characteristics of Australian Business, 2008-09
the internet and social media by:
a) screening employee material to be published Lookup/8167.0Main+Features62008-09>.
2. Facebook and Internet World Stats <http://www.
b) restricting participation in online activities (such internetworldstats.com/sp/au.htm>.
as discussion forums) to employees who have met 3. Facebook Statistics 2010 on Digital Buzz Blog <http://
a certain standard or have completed training in www.digitalbuzzblog.com/facebook-statistics-facts-
how to interact appropriately online; figures-for-2010>.
c) using specialised software to: 4. Robert Half Technology survey of 1400 Chief Information
i) monitor employee internet activity and emails; Officers of companies with more than 100 employees
23 | Issue 1 – 2011
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25 | Issue 1 – 2011
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Who inspires our risk advisers?
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1800 228 268 • a general and endocrine surgeon, would have missed.”
memberservices@ • named 5th in the Thinkers Category 2. Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on
avant.org.au of the 2010 Time 100 world’s most Performance (2007)
www.avant.org.au influential people
Presents multiple sides of contentious
• director of WHO’s Global Challenge for medical issues, such as malpractice
Safer Surgical Care law in the US, how health professionals
• a Harvard associate professor in public do not wash their hands despite
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• a staff writer for The New Yorker and out to be as essential as the scientific”.
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Atul Gawande’s writings and research
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have informed and inspired Avant’s Risk
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Atul Gawande’s members are aware of and embrace his published in over 100 countries. It has
writings and ideas. been described as a collection of
humane and passionate reminders
research have His essay “The cost conundrum”,1 in The
that doctors are people, too.
informed and New Yorker, has been cited by Barack
Gawande describes medicine as an
Obama, and prompted Warren Buffet’s
inspired Avant’s “enterprise of constantly changing
business partner to mail Gawande a
US$20,000 cheque for providing something knowledge, uncertain information,
so socially useful. He co-authored a fallible individuals, and at the same
landmark New England Journal of time lives on the line.” It asks questions
Medicine research paper2 which showed such as: How much input should
reduced rates of death and complications a patient have? How can young
with use of a 19-item surgical safety doctors gain hands-on experience
checklist designed to improve team without endangering lives? And how
communication and consistency of care. responsible are these doctors for their
And he recently wrote a poignant piece
about end-of-life care decisions.3
For further information, see:
He has written three books: www.gawande.com, and
1. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get
Things Right (2009). (Video of An evening with Dr Atul
Gawande, Jan 12, 2010)
A New York Times hardcover
nonfiction bestseller in 2010, this book References
discusses how professionals deal with 1 Gawande A. “The cost conundrum”. The
the increasing complexity of their New Yorker Jun 1, 2009.
responsibilities, and the importance of 2 Haynes AB. Weiser TG. Berry WR. Lipsitz
organisation and pre-planning (such SR. Breizat AS. Dellinger EP. Herbosa T.
as through checklists) in both medicine Joseph S. Kibatala PL. Lapitan MCM.
and the larger world. Gawande notes: Merry AF. Moorthy K. Reznick RK. Taylor B.
Gawande AA. “A Surgical Safety Checklist
“Before: Did I think the checklist would
to Reduce Morbidity and Mortality in a
make much of a difference in my Global Population”. New England Journal of
cases? No. In my cases? Please. Medicine. 2009 Jan 29; 360(5):491-9.
After: I have yet to get through a 3 Gawande A. “Letting Go”. The New Yorker
week in surgery without the checklist’s July 26, 2010.
26 | Issue 1 – 2011
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