As the service delivery sector of NSW Health – the Ministry of Health for New South Wales, Australia – HealthShare NSW provides a wide variety of services for public health agencies in the local area, including equipment, food, supply chain services, linen, financial assistance, and staff. The company is proud to aid New South Wales and enhance lives along the way, with its motto: ‘People helping people deliver excellent healthcare’.
HealthShare boasts around 6,400 employees – 90 percent of which work with patients directly, providing meals and supplies – who tirelessly serve at least 140,000 healthcare workers. Those workers then assist more than a million patients a year, bolstered by the hard work that HealthShare is continuously – albeit quietly – doing in the background. It is this behind-the-scenes work that ensures the healthcare industry is able to run effectively.
The company maintains a specific code of conduct, named CORE (Collaboration, Openness, Respect, and Empowerment) which teaches staff not just how to act, but ways to improve and ensure both contentment and engagement within the workforce. Collaboration is about working as a team, supporting one another, and sharing ideas; Openness aims to ensure staff have confidence in their work, communicate with one another, and feel able to offer feedback; Respect refers to the ways in which staff treat both colleagues and patients, celebrates inclusivity, and aims to enable swift problem resolution; and Empowerment is about encouraging staff to make decisions, recognition of achievements, and the pursuit of innovation.
HealthShare has several ongoing initiatives regarding the happiness and continuous improvement of its people, including support programs for new starters, leadership workshops, and appraisals, among others. The ultimate aim for HealthShare is to be seen as a highly positive working environment, alongside recognition by customers of the hard-working and reliable company it is.
HealthShare offers some truly extraordinary services, including its EnableNSW program, which provides mobility and physiotherapy equipment to patients with chronic illness or disability, allowing them to live more independent lives. The company provides thousands of items a year, and even includes maintenance as part of the service. Another focus of HealthShare’s is the food it provides; the company serves around 24 million meals a year to patients, and with these huge numbers in mind, it has ramped-up its efforts to provide greater choice and variety. Historically, food has not always been a priority for HealthShare, but it has more recently recognised the impact food has on patient emotional – as well as physical – wellbeing. New dietary management software has allowed the business to create fresh menus with up to 18 meal choices at a time, using My Food Choice – a popular program now live across several locations.
Another vital component of healthcare is linen supply, something which adds to the necessity of cleanliness in any healthcare setting, and is required to be changed and cleaned on a very regular basis. HealthShare manages this across New South Wales hospitals and provides over 40,000 tons of sheets, towels, surgical gowns, and blankets a year. This secures its place as the largest supplier if linen for the healthcare sector in Australia. By dealing with linen efficiently in-house, around $10.4 million has been saved.
Alongside this is an emphasis on the importance of uniforms, which are now tailored to healthcare professionals by HealthShare, giving them options and a degree of individuality. Each type of profession has its own uniform colour – making identification simpler for patients – and a new online ordering system enables them to include measurements and preferences. A seemingly small improvement, yet one that contributes to the overall satisfaction of the staff wearing these uniforms.
Central to all of these essential elements is an efficient supply chain. The Procurement Hub allows complete transparency for all involved, including a state-wide NSE Health Catalogue with its own management system, as well as a unit for dealing with larger, more specialist pieces of equipment, and a Supply Chain Information System (SCIS) which acts as a hub for all company-supplier needs.
The Clinical Product Evaluation Registry (CPER) is one element of the online network for accredited users to access. Access is simple, allowing suppliers to log in with ease and see the status of their dealings with HealthShare. CPER acts as a repository of product evaluation data, with product evaluation outcomes from specialists and committees. It allows HealthShare and its suppliers to maintain and monitor all product information using a centrally-managed IT system, on which users can obtain any information on any item, past or present.
The HQRS – Health Quality Reporting System – is another element of the SCIS, and is a secure system that can be used to flag up quality issues with suppliers, enabling them – in a simple and user-friendly way – to address any problem and take action. It is this impressive level of openness which allows HealthShare to be as well-trusted and involved with suppliers as it has gained a reputation of being, ensuring the healthy and well-oiled supply chain it requires to serve New South Wales.
This people-focussed business is truly one that has transformed itself into a beloved necessity. Long may it continue to improve the lives of the state’s citizens.