The Ochre Way
Our management framework
The Ochre Way describes on one page who we are, what we aspire to be, and how we behave as an organisation. It’s all about having great doctors, supported by great staff, delivering great clinical outcomes.
The Ochre Way begins with the three pillars of our purpose, our vision and our values. It recognises our key stakeholders, who all depend on each other: our patients, our doctors and our people. It defines our commitments to these each of these groups, which in turn drive our investments in systems, processes and people.
During tough times or times of huge success, when making decisions or simply doing our jobs, The Ochre Way shows us how best to respond.
Supporting doctors to improve the health of our patients and communities
This is why we exist, and why we show up to work each day at Ochre. ‘Supporting doctors to improve the health of patients and communities’ means we work with quality GPs, and employ quality nurses, administration and support staff to serve our patients. We are not about ‘seven-minute medicine’, quick diagnoses and referrals, or ‘churning and burning’ our doctors, staff or patients.
Recruiting great doctors to underserviced communities, and supporting them to provide outcome-focussed care, helps to improve the health of those communities. At Ochre, we track our progress in improving our community’s health with an ongoing program of measuring, recording and reporting on patient health outcomes. This program, which is unique amongst our primary health peers, operates across all of our medical centres and culminates each year in the presentation of excellence awards which recognise the results achieved by practices, doctors and support team members.
When people think health, they choose Ochre
Most people have a choice of healthcare providers. If we at Ochre offer great doctors, nurses and support teams, if the care we provide is easy to access, and if we offer a good service delivery experience, then patients will choose us – and they will keep coming back.
We want people to know that if they choose an Ochre medical centre, they will see a doctor with excellent clinical, communication and interpersonal skills. They will also be looked after by quality nurses and support team members who are skilled in customer service and who focus on delivering a positive patient experience. Their interactions with our systems, including medical records, recalls, reminders, bookings and billings, will be overwhelmingly positive.
For their part, our doctors, nurses and support team members choose Ochre as both an excellent service provider and also as an employer of choice in our sector.
At Ochre, care means more than just providing excellent clinical care to our patients.
We believe caring for our patients means getting the entire patient experience right, from booking and finding the practice to checking in and waiting. A great experience prior to seeing the doctor helps the patient to relax and the consultation to be more effective and productive. Patients get healthier when the whole patient experience is better.
We also care for each other. We support each other at work and, if appropriate, in our lives. If we know someone is unwell or stressed, we reach out. It might feel strange to ask a health professional ‘Are you okay?’ but, just as a builder’s house often needs work, many health professionals are not good at looking after themselves. They need and appreciate support as much as everybody else.
We also care for our communities by providing services, scholarships and support to local groups and community leaders that doesn’t necessarily make us money.
The promise of care for all is our organisation’s beating heart. Ochre doctors and team members ultimately get a sense that this is the place they want to be and the place they want to stay.
At Ochre we operate ethically and ‘above board’. We are open, honest and fact-based in our decision-making. We operate with high ethical and professional standards, we are fair to people and we only engage doctors and staff who do the same.
The willingness to ask for help and listen to advice, and people having the courage to speak up when they can see a better way to do things, are critical for achieving excellent outcomes – both for our patients and for our business.
We provide our doctors with open contracts – so they can resign at any time by giving the agreed short period of notice. We are able to do this because we operate with integrity, we keep our promises and we strive to exceed expectations.
Ochre was born from innovation and ingenuity – our first challenge as a fledgling start-up was to recruit a group of procedural doctors to cover the roster in Bourke for two weeks over Christmas during a time of crisis. No one else had been able to do it and most people said it was impossible, but we found a way!
We operate in a flexible and adaptable way, which sometimes means we do things first or we do things a bit differently from our competitors.
So far as we know, we were also the first private group in Australia engaged to manage the doctor roster of a public hospital; the first to link a medical centre to a hospital via a VPN; the first to collate diabetes data (HbA1c) for an entire community; and the first to include salaries in our doctor recruitment advertising.
Our origins in rural, disadvantaged communities taught us the positive impact of quality healthcare on entire populations and the importance of being community-minded and lending a hand to those in need.
In many of our locations, the Ochre Medical Centre is fundamental to maintaining a vibrant, sustainable community.
Being community-minded goes beyond recruiting doctors, providing great healthcare and creating positive health outcomes. To be truly community-minded means at times putting the community’s needs in front of our own – spending money that won’t generate a commercial return, attending a function in a town when it doesn’t really suit us, or supporting initiatives that benefit the community even if they don’t directly benefit us.
We do not have a “command and control” approach. Instead, we have team members who know their responsibilities and who are clear on the parameters in which they operate. We support them with the right systems and processes to allow them to ‘own’ issues, to solve problems and to be accountable for outcomes.
Patients know and trust us for our quality care, convenience, friendly service and value
At Ochre the care we provide our patients, and the relationships our doctors and team members have with those patients, are at the centre of everything we do. Our aim is to give every patient a wonderful, friendly experience every time they come and see us. The care and service we provide must also represent value so that patients who are charged an out-of-pocket expense are happy to pay and feel it was worth it.
We respect doctors’ autonomy, we are a leader in practice management and we foster an enjoyable place to work
We allow doctors the freedom to practice their skills as independent clinicians, surrounded and supported by quality infrastructure in a friendly, collaborative, collegiate and enjoyable environment. Unlike most corporate health care groups, we do not lock our doctors into fixed, long-term contracts. And we support them by investing heavily in developing and supporting our Practice Managers and their teams, as well as in systems and technology.
We empower, support and nurture our teams to make a difference
We invest in our team: we develop their skills and experience, support them, and offer them opportunities to advance their careers. Our ethos is to collaborate, to continually improve and to try new things. We encourage feedback: we accept that mistakes will happen, and we treat them as learning opportunities. We love to celebrate success and we love to promote from within – Ochre is a company where talented people can advance their skills and their careers!
Clinical governance and operational excellence
Our focus on clinical governance and operational excellence encompasses everything we need to deliver on our stakeholder promises. It covers everything from bookings, billings, clinical guidelines and protocols to rostering, recruitment, retention and reporting. It is underpinned by excellence in IT, administration and recruitment just as much as in clinical areas.
We support evidence-based research, training and supervision and understand that technological innovation and practice management advances rapidly. We constantly invest and change our business to deliver benefits to our patients, doctors and staff.