Prioritising Care Above Profit
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Callam Waller
The exciting recent acquisition of the operations at both Gateway and Hillcrest private hospitals - originally owned by Ross Healthcare and two of South Africa’s top-tier private medical care facilities - is incredibly exciting for the Busamed Hospital Group, as one of the first black-owned healthcare groups already boasting six hospitals to its name spread across the country.
The exciting role of an expanded Busamed will have it positioned in a strong manner to negotiate medical aid schemes on the pricing of services, as well as an increase in competition in an industry that is particularly dominated by limited retention of specialist doctors and quality nursing staff.
“At Busamed, our vision is prioritising care above profit, we recognised that it attracts and retains leading medical professionals that are highly specialised in key or rare medical disciplines, as well as assembling the technology, building up the systems and acquiring the properties that allow the required medical professionals to innovate and flourish,” explains Dr Diliza Mji, Chairman and Founder of Busamed. “Alongside the ability to attract top healthcare professionals in the industry, we also offer technology and system advantages such as robotic arms and paperless systems, all of which contribute towards the world-class healthcare on offer in Busamed hospitals.”
Each of the six hospitals working under the Busamed umbrella has a core speciality; Gateway hospital has the main focus on Cardiology, Neuro Surgery and orthopaedics, while Hillcrest - although a general facility - will focus on orthopaedics, general surgery, medical, maternity and cardiac.
A multitude of disciplines
Perhaps the biggest challenge that the Company will face is in attracting the right specialists in a multitude of different disciplines; this is compounded by the fact that it takes time to earn the confidence of communities when a new hospital is opened in their local area. However, this can be overcome very quickly by employing the right combination of staff and effectively marketing its high quality hospitals, placing particular emphasis on the hotel-style offering it can provide.
“We have done this by advertising in both local and national media, consulting top head-hunting agencies for our particularly specific senior positions,” adds Dr Mji. “It is pivotal to find the right person for the job in terms of technical expertise, alignment of personal and organisational values and a cultural fit.
“Employee engagement is at the centre of our HR strategy. We strongly believe as a Group that there is far more productivity when the head, heart and hand are aligned - the head knows what needs to be done, the heart brings the passion and values and the hand provides the output.”
The training initiatives in place in order to fulfil Busamed’s employee engagement strategies are strongly linked to operational deliverables as well as the development of individual personal development goals, using an in-house talent management programme that focuses on career management and talent pooling.
The Group utilises Imperial and Pharmed wholesalers as well as UPD for the procurement of ethicals, scheduled substances and patient medication, utilising logistics companies that can provide services seven days a week to all Busamed pharmacies. It has also perfected its emergency service which exists for delivering life-saving drugs within the first ‘golden hour’.
“We have worked very hard to ensure our suppliers are of the finest quality, local suppliers are given an opportunity to provide products and we will always ask for an economic empowerment certificate of compliance when working together,” continues Dr Mji. “When it comes to building hospitals, we have built a solid relationship with Ruben Reddy Architects, a local partner for architectural design.
“This has generated job creation and economic growth in South Africa, also requiring local outsourced suppliers for the organisation of our laundry, cleaning, security and catering services.”
There have of course been larger global suppliers involved in the Busamed story and its development over the years, some of these prominent players including T-systems - the ERP technology platform - and GE, a technology partner.
Dr Mji elaborates: “When it comes to the pharmaceutical supply chain we pride ourselves on the ability to optimise quality, while attracting cost effective products which translate into value for our patients, while also providing a high quality hospital experience. We carefully take into consideration the funder rules and work within the framework of medical aid rules in order to combat medical inflation.”
As well as working to attain local products and workers where possible, the Busamed Group is both annually and monthly involved in corporate social responsibility schemes.
“The Spin-a-Thon is run with the purpose of raising awareness of cardiac and cardio-vascular diseases and the way to make healthy lifestyle choices,” explains Dr Mji. “It is a monthly challenge and anyone can participate providing they submit their mileage done during a specific month. The challenge is to see how many times we can cycle around South Africa for this very deserving cause.”
The event will often culminate on Heart & Stroke Awareness Day, where the Group partners with CVDPRP Rehabilitation and Helderberg Cardiac Support Group, Virgin Active, Pathcare and Ampath for the healthy and fun initiative. The event this year is scheduled for 29 September.
Blood Drives have also become a big part of Busamed’s CSR work, having been partnered with WPBTS since inception. The Company hosts blood donation drives at its facilities on a bimonthly basis, with tests conducted generally including screening for cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
“We also host an annual Kidz Health Expo, inviting exhibitors to promote their services as well as creating much needed awareness of child-specific diseases and developments in areas of concern,” Dr Mji describes. “It’s something that we are incredibly proud of and is very well accepted and attended by the local community in particular. Our next expo is scheduled for 26 August, 2017.”
Looking forward, the Company is hoping to take successful schemes such as this and create a bigger presence in the majority of provinces in South Africa.
“Busamed’s aim is to become the healthcare provider and employer of choice in the country,” concludes Dr Mji. “Not only do we believe - judging by our already successful recent history - that this will be a viable possibility, but we also have a vision looking to the future to contribute towards building a national footprint in which we provide access to healthcare.”