Primary Health Tasmania: Business Process Transformation for Service Commissioning Tasks
- All right. Good afternoon everyone. Is everyone feeling the post lunch? (snoring) Hopefully we will get you ready to rock for the afternoon. Thank you so much for being here. Appreciate you being in attendance here at Appian APJ 2022. We are going to start the afternoon with a business session this afternoon our industry session here.
My name is Fritz Heinberger. I'm Appian's Global Industry Lead for the healthcare sector. So looking after payers and providers around the world. And I have the distinct pleasure of having with me today Scott McKay, General Manager for Business Finance and Bron Lewis, Manager of Procurement from Primary Health Tasmania A relatively new Appian customer and we are going to talk about their Appian journey. Kind of where, you know, from whence they've come, where they're looking to head, and what they're in the midst of these days.
So Bron and Scott, welcome. - (audience applause) - So good to see you. - Yep! Thank you, thank you.
- Thanks for being here. - Thank you! - All right. Oh goodness. Well, very fine.
Well, like I said, thank you all for, for joining us today. We're excited to have a session to chat about what you all have been up to these days. So to, to kind of kick things off, you know would love to hear about your roles within the organization. So please fire away. - Hi everyone, I'm Bron Lewis.
I'm the manager of procurement at Primary Health Tasmania. I've worked there for about four and a half years and been working on our business process management system journey for about two, two and a half years. - Thanks. Thanks, Ron Fitz, I'm Scott McKay. I'm the general manager of business and finance and my role is really corporate services and in particular business systems transformation at Primary Health Tasmania. - Very good. Next slide, please. All right.
Well, you know, as, as we think about your world, you know Scott and Bron, so appreciate you all being here and introducing yourselves. You know, we really want to think about what Primary Health Tasmania does, what your charge is within the, within the community. You know, obviously from a a healthcare perspective folks think about most healthcare entities as the doctor or the GP that they go visit but you all definitely have a different tact. Tell us a little bit about that. - Fritz, where, yeah, it's a it's a unique business and it's Primary Health Tasmania is one of 31 primary health networks across Australia. And it's, it's, we, the Commonwealth Department of Health initiated the primary health network program which was all about commissioning health services.
So that was about seven years ago. That's that journey started and it was new to Australia in terms of this commissioning cycle of health services. So we don't deliver but we commission user commissioning cycle to plan, design, procure performance manage those services and programs, monitor them, and then evaluate and again, in that improvement cycle. - Sure.
- Always after improvement in our programs and health services. So it's a, it's a deviation from when the department were, if you like, block funding, grant funding, health services that would, would tick along year after year. So we're all about performance and renewal and improvement. - No, I love that. You know, the, the notion of
continuous quality improvement, that, that QA, QC CQI process is just so relevant to what we do, whether it's in the direct patient care world or the planning thereof. That's, that's excellent. Really appreciate that. - Yeah, so, and you know, we talk about earlier, Fritz, about the, the challenges that we have and how happy it can help us. But interestingly, the commissioning model is really our people do, it's like planning. There's a lot of activities we are collaborators and we bring together, we're not necessarily natural project managers or we're not necessarily have commercial intrinsic commercial acumen amongst us. - But we're very clever in our health expertise.
So it's interesting, we, but we, we need to deliver value for money in these services. So it's, it's really important that when we do collaborate, we collaborate effectively and efficiently. And within those commissioning cycles, there are a multitude of activities that we carry out from planning, designing, procurement and evaluation. So the question, the challenges for us is what we're good at the operational side of things and we're good at governance, albeit very manual and we're really great strategists as well. And we deal with long, long term health outcomes.
And this and the other challenge is how do we, how do we know that those activities we're doing on a day to day basis, one, they're effective, we're not duplicating? But they're aligning to those long term health outcomes. It's a real challenge for us, that tactical level. So it's important to us how to manage those areas and that, that those tactics is, this is where we, we said what platform do we use to do that? Because we need to systemize and we need to move from narrative because we're knowledge workers. We deal, you know, I heard before we emails, word documents, Excel spreadsheets, you know, that's us.
We need to move away from that narrative to data to manage, manage those activities efficiently, effectively and so that we can make a difference on those long-term health outcomes. And that's where Appian came into us. - Sure, I love that. And you know, it's, it's so neat to see kind of the intersection of all of the different ways that within the health world, we ultimately come back to that same sole purpose of positively affecting those individual patient outcomes.
It's a, it's, it's such a neat thing to see. I really appreciate that. So when we think about the the Appian project itself, right? We think about the challenges that may have come up. I'm curious, tell us a little bit about that.
- Yeah, like I said, the, as commissioners, we are strategic procurers. And so we've got these, a lot of not, and I love that slide earlier today. That "Know-how and Process."
- Yes. - I, I've taken a photo of that. I'm going to take that Because that's going to be a great way to introduce Appian to our organization because we have great knowledge in our organization. So how do we harness it? And we think through business process and Appian, we can, one, make our processes more efficient, but we can, we can understand the work that we're doing.
We can measure it, we can see if we're making a difference, and we can measure results and, and ensure those we're on the right track to those longer term health outcomes. So, you know, we talk about, internally about that strategic procurement value chain and the processes that build that up. That's really important, but one of the really important things when we talked about we're going to use a BPM business process management platform to achieve some of these solutions is we, we just don't want to streamline our processes. We want to capture data whilst we're completing those processes. So we needed a platform that captures that data really effectively and allows us to move from narrative telling our story and making a difference to, to data.
So that was really important to us. - Very good. Very good, very good. So when we think about, you know, that narrative and what needed to, to happen, you know, why Appian? why the, you know, the relationship obviously between Primary Health Tasmania, Appian, Presencial from a services perspective. Explain how you, you know, your process what your evaluation process was. What you look for in a partner. Because let's be honest, you know, when we're, we're looking after the health of a community, the notion, you know, we've talked about it many times that notion of a vendor client relationship.
It cannot just be a vendor client relationship. We certainly understand each other's mission. We know why we're here.
We kind of rally around that mission. So I'm curious what your, your thoughts were and your notion, you know, as you walked down that path. - Yeah, so when we, we started this we acknowledged pretty quickly that we aren't experts in this area.
(laughter) So we had to do a little bit of our own desktop research and we came across a consultant called Leonardo. And they have specialist understanding of what business process management should be. And we met with them and one of their key strengths was to really understand our business drivers and to really unpack what our business needs were rather than get too distracted by a system. The other thing that they did, which was really strong was demo some of those systems for us.
And so we sort of had that separation from those vendors directly as well, which was quite nice. So we weren't always getting, I suppose, a sales pitch. We, once they mapped all that for us, we had about 25 solutions that might meet our needs and that got shortlisted to six. And in that they developed some criterion against what our requirements were and we were able to review that and shortlist it down to two. We then, that also effectively created our specification of what our business process management system would look like and Leonardo also played a, a good role of being quite independent from us and the vendor as well. So we could, I guess, understand exactly what we wanted and they could almost interpret our requirements as well.
So what made Appian really different was we, we were put in touch with Presencial and they, They came to the table. They created a proof of concept for us. So they didn't pitch existing systems and showed us here's how you might do this process, which we don't do. So that was really unique and, and quite a, an amazing experience for us.
We were able to work with Manish, she's in the rooms. Hi Manish! And yeah, they, they kept coming to the table. We had a lot of questions and that process went for quite some time. We really wanted to make sure that our requirements were understood.
So we kept asking questions in comparison with the other vendor. You know, we, we started asking more questions and sort of understanding that yep, there's there's a couple of things here that, that system won't do. Ultimately towards the end there, we were able to make a, I think a really convincing and justified and a good value for money selection with Appian.
Is there anything else we wanted to add there? - Yeah, look, that was a really informative and it was a great experience, wasn't it? Through that selecting process. And thanks to Persencial for doing that too. We learned a lot through that process. Appian was certainly not the cheapest, but, but what we've, we've got assurances through this process that it can do everything we want to do. - Excellent. Hopefully, the value delivered will make up for that.
- And I think the other thing was that they could provide a long-term vision for us. So again, we weren't thinking short term solution. We could actually see that this system is going to grow with our business, grow with us. That's important as well.
And yeah, we, we could see that our vision whilst it's going to take a little while, it would grow with us. - I'd love to hear that, that whole notion behind scalability, the fact that, you know being able to grow with you all in that partnership is that mission continues to grow and kind of gains legs in different directions. Being able to be as elastic as necessary to flex in whatever direction is necessary I think is is a big game changer. Certainly for me. You know, coming from the consulting world prior to the health delivery world, the practitioner world, prior to, you know, having so many systems that are, have a certain amount of rigidity, if you will, that do not flex, that do not permit you to do things as you need them done for the right reasons.
Needing to flex your own business, to morph your own business to meet the needs of a piece of software, It's rough. I've been there. And being able to custom configure that piece of software to get how you do your business and what you need to do your business done exactly the way you want is, I think a huge key. That's excellent to hear. So knowing that you all are in the midst of implementation as we speak, what have you achieved so far? You know, what are you, you know, kind of realizing with that transformation, where do you see things ultimately going from, from a, you know, a positive effect both internally as well as thinking about any external constituents that may ultimately play a part or have a part in utilizing the system? - Yeah, and as Bron talked about, we, one of the things that we loved about the Appian solution and Presencial development was we could see a pathway, We could see a journey and a strategic pathway for us. So what we wanted was a platform not only to automate our processes, but scale into something which would be enterprise-wide.
That could do quite a range of, solve a lot of solutions problems for us. So if I could just have the next slide. Thank you. When we presented when we were only a week away from going live but what we wanted to do very quickly was to present a futuristic state of what Appian would look like. And we've learned heaps along the way in the development process. And I must say it hasn't, during that process, there hasn't been something when we've come up with we want to do this, we want to do that. We've been able to achieve it or we'll achieve it at the next stage.
There hasn't been many things, if any at all, that we don't believe we can achieve in that platform. And that's really comforting to know because if you, you know, one of the things you buy a system in we're stuck, we can't do that, or we'll have to compromise but we haven't been able to compromise at all, really. - Nothing's been tabled for the distant future.
It's been able to be handled in relatively short order. - And one of the, one of the things we want to do is in terms of introducing it to our organization in a few weeks time, is to, to show them the the organization in, you can see there the various tiles represent the, the core business processes that we, we need to work through. I'm really disappointed, we called it Business Management Center when there was Eagle or Beacon. - (laughter erupts) - You're going to have to go back to the drawing board, I think come up with a good name. - Luckily easy to change, easy to flex as the business needs change.
- So yes, we need to think about our naming, but you know, that, that vision is so important to us because it, and already just through the testing process, we've had teams and managers come to us saying, "Please, can we be on the board? Put a tile, put a tile on the board for us." - Great. - So it's, it's really, it's really encouraging to see the excitement in our organization. - Oh, that's, that's excellent. - I think it's fair to say our organization is desperate for something to coordinate and organize ourselves. So we're really excited about going forward.
- It's a rarity that a piece of software is kind of that congealing factor, you know, it's something that an entire team can rally around. - Well, we don't, yeah, the business science team doesn't normally expect a lot of excitement from other teams. So, so we're excited to be part of that.
- And I guess we see the system as being a whole solution as well, like it meets all of our needs. Visibility is really tough. We don't know where a lot of our business processes are at any one time. Hopefully that's, it's just one of those challenges in our work and we are always doing a lot of our work in Word documents and emails, which we already covered. But one of the, I think what everybody is in our business really, what's resonating for them is the visibility piece that this gives them and also the place that they can go to actually initiate work for something that is consistent and really straightforward.
- Very nice. Excellent. Well, I know we've got about eight or 10 minutes left before a quick break and then the next session, but any questions from the audience? We're going to have a, a roving mic if anybody wants to pop a question. Fire away. Going once, going twice. All right.
Oh, we do have one! - Hi, my name's Sarah. I was just wondering, there's been a lot sort of talked about in terms of the corporate psychology of changing the habits of the people inside your business. How did that go for you, in terms of getting people who are pretty used to doing things a certain way? How did you get them on board, I guess to change the way they're doing things? - Thanks, Sarah. We're very early on in that, that process.
Only a week out from going live, but we have, we've been working behind the scenes is a strategy what we call our new work approach strategy. And I mentioned before, I guess our, our people are clever. They're, they're really engaged in terms of and committed to those, those long range health outcomes. But there are a little disillusioned in, in the fact that what we are doing on a day by day basis isn't making a difference.
Is it, achieving what we in the long run, what we are aim to do? And so if we can bring a system into our organization that connect and bridge what they're doing on a daily basis to those long range outcomes, build that tactical level layer, give them visibility. So while I'm, I can see where my work fits into the long, the long range plans, that's, that's got to bring satisfaction to, to staff. It's really important they see their role in that, that long range journey. And that visibility was one of the things that was really important to us is having visibility of one, the where we are in terms of the, the process.
So we we're efficient, we get it done really quickly and two, when I finish it and we'll measure the results. And one of the, one of the really key factors here is that we have to finish stuff, we have to measure it and we have to assess whether it was successful or not - Of course. - And was it aligned to those longer range goals that will become visible to everyone and that will, we're pretty sure that will create a more engaging and committed workforce. - We, we've also grown significantly in terms of our funding.
So we're now a $60 million business so we think when I started it was maybe 40. So I think our staff as well are looking for contemporary sophistication and this just sort of seems to go hand in hand with our growth as well. - Very good. Thanks for the question Sarah. Anyone else? - Might add to just the nature of our business and there might be a few in the organization, have it we don't, we don't create sales. There's no profit margins, there's no production, there's no inventory. So where's the dashboard?
Where's how, how are we faring on a daily basis? It's always a challenge for us. We're busy. We're, we're really active, but we need to measure. We need to know that we're on on track. And so...
- How do you illustrate that? - Yeah, how do you illustrate that? And so everyone wants dashboards, but we don't necessarily have great data for dashboards. And so moving from that narrative to data is really important to us. And so that's the messaging that we'll be sharing with our, our teams. It'll be quite a game changer and probably some discomfort for a lot of our staff moving from that on that journey. - Well, you know, just being able to, to move things forward and dynamically change the way you're doing business you know, it's, it's getting comfortable being uncomfortable for a little while is going to be the name of the game. No doubt.
- And I suppose we're not trying to be too motivated. We want to be really careful with our change management and we sort of internally keep saying we, we get the one chance to make the first impression and we want to ensure that all of our staff have a really enjoyable experience. So we've been quite deliberate with our strategy and our plan of, of engaging our staff and our communications and, and when we go live.
- Would you say engaging them early and often is is fair? - Correct. Yeah, so we've done a lot of frequent engagement. People are aware of the project. We have also undertaken our user acceptance testing as well, which garnered quite a lot of interest across the company, which was great. So there was a few people that were really really wanting to do that, which is, which is fantastic. So we had good engagement there, great feedback and yeah, we're trying to just implement some of that feedback as well so we can demonstrate that we've listened and we are trying to make a product that's going to service all well not just business and finance, it's, it's for everybody. - Excellent.
- Any other thoughts? One more. - I'm Stasia here. What excites you the most about what other possibilities are available to you and what could they be? - I think what's really exciting is that, as I've said before, having our staff harnessing that, that knowledge and know how that expertise in a satisfying and efficient way. And we've only just touched the surface in terms of the processes that we can automate and use or extract data about how we, information about how we're progressing. I think it'll be a game changer so that people can be, every day they'll know on they're own, they're making some progress. Every day they'll know they're making a difference.
It's, I think, I really believe that's going to be quite empowering to our, to our teams in a, in you know, area, which is essentially knowledge. - And I'm just going to have a shameless plug for procurement. Where I think we're being really brave and that's why we started with procurement space purposefully in our organization because change does invoke a bit of fear in, and a bit of resistance across the organization. So we've started with procurement because people are familiar with the process to a degree. What, albeit its, its manual, but that's what excites me is that we are being really transparent. We're being quite brave. We have nothing to hide.
We're really excited about this and we hope that everyone else wants to get involved and that's, that's starting to translate out into the rest of the company as well. So that's what excites us. - Wonderful. - All right, well we are at time. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you Bron. Thank you Scott. Appreciate you both. - (audience applause) - This has been informative. - Thank you.