Dr. Avi on Getting Raw: Bridging the Gap between the Wellness and Medical Industry

In this interview with Richard Marc Toutounji, Dr. Avi speaks about bridging the gap between the wellness industry and medical industry. Dr.  Avi also speaks about being a business owner, having a passion for your business and how to build your brand within the market place.

Below is a breakdown of what is in this video:
0.33 Richard introduces Dr Avi Ratnanesan.
1.08 Dr Avi shares his experience with biotech companies.
3.02 Bridging the gap between wellness industry and medical industry.
5.05 Researching the market place with your wellness business.
5.45 Passion vs Skill.
7.07 Valuing your time and strategy in business.
9.50 Building your brand in the market place.
11.30 Finding a niche.
14.12 Personal Training and Health Care.
18.55 Mastermind Program for fitness professionals.
20.23 Strategy importance.
22.21 Problems and solutions.
25.40 Mindset and behavioural change.

Richard:           Welcome to Getting Raw, it’s Richard Marc Toutounji, and it’s been awhile since our last episode that I had, but today I think we would kickstart the series again. I got a really special guest here today. I’ve got Dr Avi. Welcome doctor.

Dr. Avi:            Nice to see you Richard.

Richard:           I usually call you Avi, so it’s Dr Avi, the official name and title. Dr Avi, you’re a medical doctor, is that correct?

Dr. Avi:            That’s right, I was trained as a medical doctor and I trained in the UK, in England, and then came to Australia probably about 14/15 years ago, and worked in the medical system in Australia as well.

Richard:           This is the first time we’ve had a medical doctor on the show, and you are probably wondering, “Why we got a medical doctor on a Getting Raw series, when we are talking about business and strategy, and fitness, and everything to do with wellness.” Dr Avi, you are responsible for pretty much working with billion dollar companies as their strategist, is that correct?

Dr. Avi:            Correct, that’s right. After my stint in medicine, I did an MBA in Master’s in Business Administration. I got into the biotech scene initially. I worked with biotech companies, and then subsequently worked at Pfizer, which was the largest pharmaceutical company in the industry. Initially my role was more looking after the development of new medicine. It was actually Viagra.

Richard:           Viagra?

Dr. Avi:            Yes, that’s right.

Richard:           You brought Viagra to Australia?

Dr. Avi:            No, Viagra was already in Australia, and doing well. My role at the time was really to look at the science behind Viagra and see what else we can do with Viagra, and get through different populations. It was actually my role to also approve any marketing and advertising for Viagra in Australia, so I needed to get my signature before we add some…

Richard:           That’s also doing tricky advertising as well to get that as well.

Dr. Avi:            That’s right. It’s certainly was edgy. Some people say it was a hard job. Some people don’t get that joke. I learnt a lot because obviously managing Viagra, things were in the newspaper all the time. You always get the statement that the company spokesperson denied this or include that, and I was the company’s spokesperson.

Richard:           You were the company’s spokesperson?

Dr. Avi:            Yeah, back in the time. Then I transitioned more into the business world. As I grew my way through the company, I ended up advising the CEO on strategies and innovations. How do we plan the business side?

Richard:           That’s what I really want to get you on the show today because you are strategizing, not just small businesses, not million dollar, billion dollar companies here… I really wanted to understand the lessons and the techniques that you gave to those companies that are multinationals, and how it’s actually working within smaller startups. Particularly now I know you are getting in the space of wellness, so bridging the gap between wellness and medical.

Dr. Avi:            Yes.

Richard:           I am really interested in that because we all know that the best referrals come from your doctors and so forth. People will say, “Hey, you need to get fit and you need to exercise. I am really interested in that to see how we can actually work with you. I never actually come across someone of your caliber that could be talking about such a topic. Before we’ve had a lot of fitness entrepreneurs on the show, a lot of fitness people in the industry. It’s like, how do we bridge that gap? How do we really do that gap?

Dr. Avi:            It’s really important, wellness, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship in the health and wellness space. What is that? A bit about my background. After I did the role at Pfizer and did pretty well at it, actually then went to start my own companies from absolute scratch.

Initially there were even areas outside of healthcare, but then after a couple of years I realized I wanted to get back into healthcare, but looked at it from not just a modern medicine perspective, but look at it from the wellness perspective, because currently I think in Australia, we’ve got this division between sick care and well care. We tend to think of our doctors and our hospitals as sick care, and we tend to think of our personal therapists, our alternative health Allied health or our fitness project as wellness and wellness care. Never the two shall meet.

Richard:           Sick and well.

Dr. Avi:            Yeah, sick and well. Whereas that really isn’t how it should be. It really is about a combined approach that’s the best to treat the person as a whole. From an individual perspective, if Richard you want to look after your healthcare, wouldn’t you love it if you have your personal trainer talking to, your doctor talking to you, alternative health therapist, and it was all in one system, right?

Richard:           Yeah.

Dr. Avi:            That would be the best solution for you, but as an industry, as providers of healthcare, we are still quite separated. We don’t really talk together.

Richard:           Most definitely. You go to a doctor when you are sick, and you go to the gym when you are well, then if you are sick you are not hitting the wellness part of it.

Dr. Avi:            Yeah, absolutely. Now here is the thing, if you are a wellness professional or if you are a personal trainer, a fitness coach, even if you are a gym owner, you are starting to think of yourself, “How do I reach more people? How do I get into working with the healthcare side of things?” That’s where you need to be a good business. We know from some of the statics and we look at some of the stats within the industry, some stats say that up to 75 percent of startup wellness businesses failed within the first 18 months.

Richard:           I can believe that.

peaker 2:         It’s a really high failure rate. The reason for that is multiple. Sometimes people don’t realize or don’t fully appreciate why they got into the industry in the first place. A lot of people get into the industry because of heart, the passion for health, and really want to help people with their help.

Richard:           Yeah, the experience something and they want to do it again to somebody else.

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely, and that’s such a great story. It’s a very genuine motivation. Passion will only get you so far. After awhile you need skills and you need business skills in order to help you grow your client base and see more people, because you do need to generate revenue.

Richard:           I like that, business skills. That’s all it’s all about. You are going to have the skills, but you need the actual business skills to go to the next step after that.

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely. To keep yourself sustainable. Some of the mistakes that often people in startup say, “Okay, I’ll do this for free or I’ll train you for free or I’ll undercharge.” Because you are trying to get your way into the market. In some cases that can work, but sometime that’s a win lose situation, where the client wins because they are not paying much, but you lose as a business owner.

Richard:           Because you are not getting paid.

Dr. Avi:            You’ve got to find that balance, and that really comes from valuing yourself first and foremost. It comes from having that sense of, “I value myself and my services and what I can deliver…”

Richard:           I think that’s a big problem within the industry. We are not valuing ourselves or time, because we are selling our time, and it’s also as I said, a doctor or a practitioner, they are selling their time, we need to sell our time as trainers, as gym owners, or as practitioners. It’s the same concept, right?

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely. Valuing your time is fundamental because that’s really were your revenue comes from as a personal trainer. The second thing is then having the right strategy around how you approach the market. You got to think about, “Who are the kind of people that I actually want to help?” A lot of people scatter themselves across many different segments. You might decide, “I want to train men, I want to train women, I want to train kids,” and really scatter yourself a bit too much. Such that when people think of you, you are not clearly positioned in the market.

Richard:           You can pretty much say everything we ask…for male and females between 18 and 65. It’s too broad, right?

Dr. Avi:            Yes, absolutely. Really, whether you are a massive gym owner and owns a chain of gyms, or whether you are an initial startup, business strategy is really important because that determines your long term future. If you are an individual personal trainer, you need to think about who it is you want to serve in the world, who is it you really really want to help. When you find that type of person, then focus on helping those kinds of people, because that’s when you get the joy from your work, that’s when your value builds up, as you learn about specific segments of the market.

As you learn about, say you prefer working with kids for example, you will learn the details of differences of working with children, compared to working with adults.

Richard:           You be the specialist in that area, so like surgeon become a specialist in a certain body part, you turn that the same to the concept.

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely right. It’s lot of fun being a generalist and working in different areas, but if you find that you really want to build greater value all the time, going that specialized route, maybe for 80 percent of your client, is a very good way to go, because then that builds value and you then build them in yourself, your expertise and you are able to charge more, then you can become a more successful-

Richard:           I like that concept. I’ve heard that before, but you explain it in a very different way, with if it’s something coming out alive when you really want to help that particular market, that’s when you become that specialist in your field. What you are also doing is saying okay, when you are a specialist in that field, teaming up with other specialists in different healthcare sector, is that correct?

Dr. Avi:            Yeah. Right now the industry is saturated. We know that. We have more personal trainers now and gyms that we ever had.

Richard:           Yeah. We have more gyms and trainers, exactly.

Dr. Avi:            Which is a good thing, in a lot of ways because we are helping the greater population. On the flip side, if you are a business owner, then you’ve got to say, “Well, how do I actually penetrate this saturated market?” That’s why this specialize comes into place. Now, hand in hand with building your expertise, is building your brand.

Richard:           I understand.

Dr. Avi:            As you build your expertise, you then know need to figure out, “How do I now build my brand within the marketplace? I do I get it out there? How do I communicate my brand?” That’s why things like good marketing principles like having a decent website the represents who you are, who you target, the way you communicate and close the sales call, because it is a sales call at the end of the day. Having that conversation is so important. How do you stuck to the conversation with somebody in your marketing world. Do you go, “Okay, I do this, this, and this, but I can also do this and I can also do that.” How does that seem to the customer when you say you can do all these things?

Richard:           I like that. It’s very interesting you say that. You are coming from non-fitness industry as well, which I may had, which is really I think probably the value asset idea, because you are coming from a medical background. That is what you do as specialist, and each person is calling for a specialist task. It’s almost like, can we duplicate that, what’s been successful done over the years, into a fitness wellness market.

Dr. Avi:            I think that’s certainly, from my point of view, I think that’s certainly a way to go right now, because the market is saturated. Because there are more and more personal trainers out there. It really just depend on where you are. If you are in a location where there is absolutely no personal trainers at all, then sure, be generalized, but if you are in a market where things are saturated, there’s lots of personal trainers, there’s lots of group training etc, etc, really try and find a niche that you can go into, where it’s with people you love working with.

Richard:           I think that’s the key. People you love working with is probably a very big key that we are talking about.

Dr. Avi:            Yeah, absolutely. Business is tough and helping people in healthcare is tough, because you are really dealing with their problems. You’ve got problems and they’ve got problems, so you are around problems all the time. What keeps you going? A few things keep you going, your personal inner motivation, satisfaction, your happiness and fulfillment. Ultimately that’s what keeps you going.

If you do something that you love doing, you will keep going because you are motivated and you feel fulfilled every day of your life.

Richard:           That brings up my next question. You’ve come from a medical background and now at the moment, you are actually helping wellness specialists, personal trainers, gym owners, in that wellness sector, actually work on their business. Why did you make the switch for? What’s the story of you making that switch? Why are you still in the hospital, prescribing medication?

Dr. Avi:            It’s a very good question. The reason was, I really got out of full-time about 15 years ago. I found that after practicing for about two years as a doctor full-time, and then I went part time for another two more years, I found that one-on-one care for me, there was something bigger, there was something missing. I did it for a couple of years. I didn’t really know what it was at the time. I left, actually I took some time off. I took about nine months, where I didn’t do anything.

Richard:           You did a gap?

Dr. Avi:            I did the gap yeah, which is an unusual thing to do, but I really took time to think what is it that I love doing. What I found, I started reading the financial review and business news and things like that, and said, “This is really interesting. I actually really enjoy this stuff, and I want to learn more.” I did that the only way I know how to do that, which is go back to university, because I already spent five years in university.

Richard:           Go back there again.

Dr. Avi:            I’ll just go back there again. I was a sucker for punishment when I went and do that. I did a master’s in business administration. It was a two year course, and I did it 16 months. Fast tracking. I got on the dean’s honor roll, so I was with distinction as well, a distinction student, and I was working part time as a doctor as well, to pay for … I felt, yep, this is absolutely what I love doing, but I didn’t want to just go purely into business. I was still passionate about healthcare, I was still passionate about helping people and helping them have better lives, saving them from illness, and preventing illness, so that’s where personal training comes in.

I said, how can I bring the too together? How can I bring the business side and the healthcare side together? We know that in the wellness space, you have to get paid. There is no Medicare here. You’ve got to go out and get clients and get paid. You’ve got to earn a living.

Richard:           Wouldn’t we just like to swap the medicare kind of thing to a personal trainer? (laughs)

Dr. Avi:            That’s the thing, but we still have to get that credit card. We still have to have those skills. We want to help people yes, but we also still need to get paid. On the flip side, on the hospital care on the GP side, you’ve got patients coming through the doors sometimes. In fact, sometimes you wish you had less patients, but the problem there is bringing the cost down, because the cost of healthcare is too much at the moment. We need to look at ways of bringing cost down.

Depending on the side aspect … That’s an economic issue. It’s a major economic issue, and so again, having that business mindset, helps that side of things as well.

Richard:           You hit it on the head, the cost of healthcare is huge. How are you getting the attention of governments and politicians out there to really say, “Hey, this needs more attention”? Is it happening? Will it happen? Do you think it’s big enough to happen right now?

Dr. Avi:            I think the situation is, everyone is acutely aware. Everybody, the government is acutely aware, the treasurer is acutely aware. He’s scratching his head now, smashing all his subordinates, saying, “We’ve go to find a way to bring healthcare cost down,” so everybody is acutely aware of the problem, and trying different solutions out there.

One of the things I am working on at the moment, is speaking to the top 20 senior leaders in government, business of healthcare, helping to understand what’s the integrative approach to solving this problem. How can we stop working in silos and working as a pharmaceutical industry, as a health insurance industry, as a wellness industry, fitness industry, and how can we start working together. In order to prevent chronic disease, a lot of the issues around the cost of healthcare, comes from our aging population. A lot of us will see or coach people that are 40 plus, who are starting to get those chronic diseases and multiple illness, and multiple injuries.

We are starting to see all those things come through. That is a big burden of the cost. If we can prevent that, if we can keep people fitter, healthier, for longer periods of time, not only will they be more productive to society, they will actually avoid a lot of these chronic diseases that are costing the healthcare system a lot of money at the moment.

Here is where the big opportunity is for the fitness and wellness professional industry, to work towards helping prevent these sorts of diseases.

Richard:           This is just one sector of the many of the wellness stuff that you are working with at the moment?

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely.

Richard:           You’ve got a bit of a big job on your hands I think.

Dr. Avi:            Yeah, I love a big challenge. Don’t we love a challenge? We all love a challenge. I think even for fitness professionals and trainers, don’t you just love those clients that are challenging you all the time, in a way, to not just improve how you train them, but forcing you to be creative, while this person is not responding for this exercise regime or “I’m going to bring some toys in next time.” I’ve got my personal trainer and she’ll try different things. Say, “Okay, this time let’s just focus on some of the stretching this time, it’s boxing this time, let’s try a bit of some yoga techniques. When you get that challenge, that’s what forces you to think of new ways of doing things.

Richard:           I think it’s big need. It definitely make sense as well in the marketplace. I know right now, I guess to start getting that focus into changing the mindsets of the fitness industry, the personal trainer, the gym owners and so forth. I know you are doing a lot of coaching, a lot of programs for that industry specifically to try align them into wellness industry, which I think is actually great. I don’t think anybody is doing that in this industry.

They are pretty much saying, hey if you are a business owner and you want to grow your business, you are an entrepreneur or you want to take your business to past the million dollar mark or million to 10 million dollars, you’ve got the skillset because you’ve obviously gone from the billion dollar companies, and you are working all the way through. What does those sort of programs involve? I know you are working with a few people in the industry, but you are working with the people that are thinking differently as well, not just, hey, I want to get 10 sessions or 20 sessions. You are really trying to think that business skyrocket as fast. Tell me quickly about that.

Dr. Avi:            Generally I work in a number of different ways. I’ve got a mastermind group program, which is a regular weekly coaching call. That’s in a group setting. What that does is, I help, let’s say you are a fitness professional, wellness professional, I help you grow your business by giving you advise on a weekly basis, making sure you hit those weekly goals that you set for yourself, but also helping you think different to everybody else that’s in the market.

Richard:           I like that. I think that’s the key, is thinking differently.

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely. As you said, if you are just trying to get more clients, there’s only so far you can go.

Richard:           Time is money.

Dr. Avi:            Time is money and there is so many hours in a day, and you can burn yourself out, because even if you work with six clients a day, can you really work with six clients a day for five days a week? I don’t think you can. You might be able to in the short term, but not a long term. You need to think of different ways of earning revenue. Can you create products? Can you create services? Can you tap into partnerships with other businesses? So you have more passive streams of income.

Look at Michele Bridges for example, she’s your classic case of someone who’s built her profile over a period of time. She still works with clients, but she’s got products, she’s on a TV show. She’s got other services that she endorses. She’s partnered with schools. These are the ways that you can leverage some of your expertise within the marketplace, to create other streams of income. That’s the real thing that a lot of people don’t think about. This is where having good strategy at an early stage, comes in.

Richard:           Having a good strategy and having a good team will able to give you that strategy, that’s thinking differently and that’s come from a different … Somewhere totally different, which is, … I know we had a couple conversations and it’s taking a while to understand your concepts as well because you are coming from a different concept. It’s still even so valuable because it is a different model of hey, not fitness. You are coming from a different sector, which is I think is very powerful.

Dr. Avi:            Thanks for saying that. I think the other opportunity, particularly if you look at gym owners who are owning businesses that are say, 1 million to 10 million or want to go from 10 million to a 100 million, then they hear the opportunities to look at how do we get into other sectors? How do we partner with the sick care side of things? How do we work with hospitals? How do we work in other areas of the health industry, even health insurance companies for example, to form this greater partnership and reach a broader number of people.

That’s where we need to think outside of the box, just like Steven Johnson when he created … Everybody’s got an iPhone right now, and when the iPhone first came out, people said, “What is this thing? This is not really a phone anymore. This a complete different innovation. This is completely different, but look at how popular it’s become. The same with you. If you are delivering health and wellness at the moment, what are you doing that’s different? What are you doing that’s outside of the box?

Richard:           Yeah. How are you being different every other turner out there, every other 24 hour club out there. How is that different? I think that’s very interested topic of conversation. Before you leave, I want to get you giving us three problems that you see from an outsider in the fitness industry, for issues that we are doing wrong within the fitness industry. Do you have three?

Dr. Avi:            I could point three out, but if I am going to give the problem, I am also going to give solutions. Let’s talk about different areas of the market. Let’s look at individual personal trainers. I think the problems that individual personal trainers have is that you are limited in your time, in what your time limit is. You can get burnt out very quickly. One of the things to to think about as an individual personal trainer, and owning a business is, what can I do different?

The problem is I am limited in my time. The solution to that is, you’ve got to think about business strategies. Think of yourself as a business, firstly. Having that mindset, and the solution is, “How do I build my skills on the business side of things?” Because I need those skills, and secondly, what can I do that’s different to other personal trainers? What are the products and services can I offer that are going to help me generate long term revenue, that’s not going to rely on my time.

Richard:           Great, I like that.

Dr. Avi:            Does that make sense?

Richard:           Makes perfect sense.

Dr. Avi:            If you are a larger gym owner, let’s say you are own an individual gym, again it really depends on the area that you are in. If you are in a saturated area, again, I would say niche in your market. What is that niche that are currently catered for? How can I understand the problems of that niche market in the health and fitness and describe it better than they can? Once you get to that layer, you are no longer a gym. You provide all the different aspects of health and fitness for that market more than as a gym. You become part of their lives.

One big opportunity there, is going online. Having that engagement, not just inside the gym, but how do I serve people-

Richard:           Everybody can see what you do, instead of having to come inside the gym.

Dr. Avi:            That’s right, and how can you offer them information outside of the gym. Let’s say you come to the gym three times a week, but you are still interested in health information. Why can’t you be the provider of that information. Why can’t you get some personal trainers to-

Richard:           I think that’s a very good element.., and that obviously comes down to your blogging, your video content, things like that… Providing your content.

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely. Providing content, going digital..

Richard:           Be the authority in your space.

Dr. Avi:            Be the authority in your space. That’s another key thing. Then we talk about the big problem for the bigger end of town. We’ve got the larger gyms and franchises. What are some of the challenges there? Again, in some of those areas, you’ve been in the market for many, many years. You’ve got these replicable scalable models, how else can you grow. You can go international and do all those things.

I feel there still big opportunities to look at partnering with the sick care side of town. The doctors, the hospitals, health insurance companies, and look at partnerships in those areas, because those are ways in which you can add joint value. The problems that you are solving, somebody else in the healthcare industry is also trying to solve them.

Richard:           Doctors are always full and there’s always waiting rooms. There’s a waiting room lined of people. It’s crazy, a market is there, isn’t it?

Dr. Avi:            Yeah.

Richard:           Just bridging that gap.

Dr. Avi:            Absolutely. I think the other thing is just also not looking … This is for the entire spectrum of healthcare professionals, is no just thinking of yourself as treating the body, because to treat the body and treat the physical, first you’ve got to treat the mind, you’ve got to change behaviors, so really get good a learning how to change people’s behaviors, because you are not just treating your physicality, firstly you are treating behavior patterns. Only when people change their behavior patterns that they change their physicality.

Richard:           I like it. That’s a good point to leave off of. I think it’s an exciting time for the fitness industry. It’s a very exciting time because there is so much room for growth and there’s so much room for those [up raiser 00:26: 04] maybe are getting a little stale and I need to take that next level. I think you are the person to have a chat with when you are at that position and you are not too sure where to go.

Before you leave, just tell us where we can find more information. I will put some links on the website, but where could everybody find some information about you?

Dr. Avi:            Very easy way to go is go to my website, www.energesse.com. I am open to have a conversation with people. I offer free initial mentoring conversation. I am very happy to do that with people if they reach out with me. Always willing to help people in this industry.

Richard:           Thank you so much for your time. I think there’s a lot of passion in this conversation, and there’s a lot of growth that can happen. It’s about just aligning yourself up with the right people. Thank you so much. Until next time. I’ll see you later on Getting Raw. Thanks guys.

Dr. Avi:            Thank you.

Dr. Avi at the 11th Annual Future of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Summit 2014

Innovation and Healthcare System Reform

Thanks very much. That’s a little bit of all bio there. Essentially, I’m at a company called Energesse . We’re a consultancy in the healthcare and wellness space. We consult companies mainly in Australia, but also healthcare organizations in the UK and US. A little bit about what we’re going to talk about today, the title is Innovation and Healthcare Reforms. Obviously, with a lot of changes going in, we focus a lot in the last day and a half in the problems and the challenges. I’m really going to take different attack, and talk more about the potential solutions that our organizations can implement.

The takeaway that I want to leave you with, by the end of the day, is that you have 1 or 2 tips that you’re able to implement in your organizations literally tomorrow. This presentation, this come with a warning, because I’m going to be very controversial. Most of you probably disagree with what I have to say, but that’s fine. That’s the nature of a lot of presentations so far, but I’d like to keep it a little bit exciting. If you’re easily offended, probably you’re best to leave, because there some of things I’m going to say are pretty out there.

Moving on, what are we going to cover? Firstly, I’m going to talk a bit about managing the PBS and patient care in the healthcare ecosystem. I call it an ecosystem, because it’s a bit broader, and it’s quite an interdependent system. I’m also going to take the conversation up a level. We really have been focusing on the PBS quite a lot in the last day and that’s the nature of this conference. We really have to look at our pharmaceuticals and the PBS in the context of the boarder healthcare system. I’m really going to talk big picture today.

We’re going to talk a little bit about our systems centricity, how we are focused on creating solutions, and solve problems within the system. Sometimes we forget about the growing patient needs. We’re looking at a lot of patient needs today as a static picture, that’s not actually true. Patient needs and expectations are changing. They want more they want better health care. We’re going to look at how innovation can be used to solve some of these problems. I’m going to give you a few tips on process on how innovating your companies, so that you can go ahead and do this pretty much straight away.

I’m going to talk a little bit about the future trends. That’s not just trends in Australia, but trends globally. When we look at the Australian healthcare system, it really does limit a lot of what’s going in the UK. It takes elements from the US. Certainly when it comes to science, we’re always going to US healthcare conferences, and getting our knowledge from there. Let’s look at some of the trends that are happening there, and what you can do in the organizations today. Finally I’m going to talk about a white paper that Energesse is developing with 20 of the top healthcare leaders in Australia. It’s called Future Solutions in Australian Healthcare. I’ll take about that at the end as well.

Then we’ll have some time for QA, if we’re lucky. I really want to tailor this presentation to what you guys actually want. I just want to get an understanding of which sub-sectors of health care you can’t be working. If you can just get a show of hands. How many people currently work in pharmacy? How many people work in pharmaceutical companies? All right, so we’ve got a few there. We have a few more volunteers that just joined. How many industry bodies?

Research and academia? All right, so we’ve got 2. How many people in other? Quite a lot out there. I know about legal. We’ve got research, market research. What else have we go? Healthcare system.

Audience:        Direct clinical care.

Audience2:      Personal health

Direct clinical care. I think I’ve got some pointers for you guys as well. Let’s see how it goes. Anyone else in the other category?

Broader health, fantastic. I’ve got some for you as well. I think we’ve got it covered. If you don’t mind, just a little bit on my background, because you’ve then understand why I’ve got all these wacky ideas. I started my career as a doctor. I worked as a doctor in the UK. I trained in the medical system over there. Worked for the National Health Service. Then I came to Australia, and I worked for the health system here. I worked in private healthcare syste, and I worked in public as well. I’ve got experience across different healthcare systems in different countries, and also public and private.

I then got to the industry, I did an MBA. I got into industry. I worked initially for a company called Sorono, in medical affairs. Then went on to join a company called Pfizer, as one of the medical directors. I work in research and development, clinical developing, clinical trials. I was involved in registry in products. I was involved in reimbursing products, such as Champix, and marketing products such as Viagra, etcetera, all the hundred million dollar.

At that time Pfizer was turning over a billion dollars a year. It’s not that big anymore. To answer one of the questions earlier, Have we seen a reduction in staff across pharmaceutical industries? Absolutely. At Pfizer I think we had 400 or so plus sales force. I know it’s about 150 people now. In the time that I was there, we completely got rid of the whole clinical research team. We have no clinical research team in house in anymore. Certainly the industry has experienced a world of changes since I left, and that was 2010.

I then went on to a lead industry for a while, doing things in technology, owning companies in that space. Then coming back to healthcare, because I find that’s really where my heart is. My heart is around helping people with their health and wellbeing, which is why our organization really has a vision of helping a million people in the health and wellbeing around the world. We did spend some time working in the holistic health space, and looking at other areas of healthcare that are assigned to emerge.

What we found is some of these things are traditional Chinese medicine, meditation. There’s a growing evidence based for them. In fact the Australian Heart Association actual cited meditation as one of the solutions for heart disease, or preventing the progression of heart disease. That’s meditation, not medication, which is very interesting. We spend some time in that area as well. If you think I have a bias, yes. I have a bias across the whole lot of healthcare, and looking at various different solutions for various different conditions.

It really helped me redefine what healthcare is all about. Healthcare, medicine alone isn’t necessarily health. I did say that this is going to be controversial. Medicine is not necessarily health. Just law is not necessarily justice. There is a difference. Medicine is a sub-sector of health. Sometimes, when we get focused on medicines alone, we lose sight of the broader picture of the value that we can add back into the healthcare system. We lose sight of the value that we can add back to patients. That’s one of the key points here.

What is healthcare really? Healthcare is the maintenance and restoration of the health of the individual’s body and mind. The maintenance being prevention. We forget a lot about that. We focus on treatment quite a lot. Healthcare really is a combination of both, and is also body and mind. Often we really focus on the physicality, the physical outcomes of healthcare, but we forget about the mind. We forget about the rule of the mind. A lot of this stuff may not relate to your professional point of view, but it may relate to you from a very personal point of view.

What is the healthcare ecosystem actually look like. We talked a lot about PBS, but I just want to give you a broader picture of what the healthcare system actually is. Once you understand what’s going on in the whole system, you’ll then understand why some of the things are happening the PBS, and the nature of some of changes that are actually going on. When we look at the entire healthcare ecosystem … Firstly, we’ve got the biggest funders. We’ve got federal government on one hand. Between federal and state, we spend about $140 billion in the Australian healthcare system.

We’ve got a PBS there which is one way of paying for healthcare. We’ve mentioned that’s about 0.6% of GVP, which got Medicare, which funds a lot of services, the doctors etcetera. State government largely funds hospitals that’s about $42 billing with the spend. Then we’ve got health insurance companies represented on the bank. Again, we’ve got 11 million people in Australia that have private health insurance. Again, that funds a lot of healthcare. We’ve got work cover, which we forget about, which also covers a lot of employee benefits in health care.

Then we’ve got things like exercise and nutrition. We tend to forget about the rule of exercise and nutrition, particularly when we starting talking about medicines. When we talk about clinical outcomes around medicines, we start to forget about how important exercise and nutrition actually plays a role in the results that which is in practice. We’ve got age care, and then we’ve got a research in academia, again, represented here. We’ve got our medical professionals, we’ve got about 70,000 across the GP and specialist in this country. Pharmacist, we talked about that Got about 5,250 pharmacist. Steven, was I correct 5,250?

About that plus and minus 3. And about 65,000 employees. That gives you an idea of scale of the ecosystem. Then we’ve got all the nurses, the allied health professionals, the occupational therapist, the physios, all play a role in the maintenance and prevention. We’ve got the alternative health space. That’s a $4 billion industry in this country. We offered 30,000 employees. Fair size for a country like this. We’ve got complementary medicines, which we’ll talk about. We’ve got the pharmaceutical industry, and medicines in there. Then we’ve got the not for profit sector.

The interesting thing about the not for profit sector is that it very often addresses the gaps. The areas where the not for profit organizations are not able to fill, the not for profit raise money from the public to provide healthcare services in those areas as well. Why am I telling you all this? When we start to talk about that we don’t have enough money to do stuff, and we don’t have enough money to create solutions, the reality is if you look at the entire ecosystem, there’s a lot of money around different areas. We can be creative about how we work with other areas with the healthcare ecosystem. We can find some amazing solutions for this person. 23 million of the Australian population, which is really at the center of this ecosystem.

The beautiful thing about the healthcare ecosystem in this country is that the principal of health care is universal health care. We really believe in that. We really want to give everyone in this country very good access. Not just the medicines, but to health care. That’s a wonderful principle, and we forget about the privilege we have working in the system under hat guiding principle.

The other thing that we tend to forget is when changes happen in on par of healthcare, it affects many different parts of healthcare. Brendan talked about this. When we reduced the amount of funding to the PBS, for example, then we reduce the amount of funding available to pharmaceutical companies. The drug industry will reduce the funding available to pharmacy, for example. What happens then, or pharmaceutical companies are not able to fund research. We’ve certain seen that. We know that they fund a degree of education for medical professionals.

What happens then is that those benefits, access to pharmacy, for example. Patients have less access, potentially expertise station have less expertise from the doctors. There is a flaw on impact for whatever change you make in the industry to a stake holder. Very often, we tend to forget the flow on impact. Not only do we forget the flow on impacts to the patients, we also tend to forget the flaw on impacts to all the other stakeholders in the industry. I forgot to mention devices and diagnostic, which is a very important piece.

One thing I want to take from any falsely changing intervention that you’re looking to make in the organization. Think about the flaw and impacts to other stakeholders. When you start thinking that way, you actually start looking at the potential opportunities within the ecosystem to collaborate with other stakeholders to achieve the outcome that you want. We talked a lot about this, a we’ve all talked about the points of trying to have it on cost versus benefits to patient. That’s also about cost centric system versus the patient centric system.

I want to tell you a bit of a story. I recently had an opportunity to go to a specialist consultation with my Dad. My Dad is 69 years old. He’s got a number of illnesses. He’s got diabetes, he’s got asthma, he’s got heart disease. Very rare for me, despite being a doctor, the first time I actually went to the see a specialist with him, and be with him for that consultation. In that consultation … My dad’s a very intelligent man. He’s a dentist. He’s the president of the World Dental Federation. He knows his stuff when it comes to medicines.

In that consultation, he was there sitting with the specialist. The specialist said to him … Asked his history. He was able to relay his history. Then he said, “What medications are you on?” My Dad started rattling off. It became a bit of a challenge, because he was on many medications, he couldn’t actually tell the specialist what was going on. This is a real situation here. An intelligent person, with certain amount of medications, and he was having a real challenge doing that. I felt quite guilty, because.. some preparation for him, and help him with that side of things, but I couldn’t do that.

After we went for that consultation, we came back home. I said, “Look dad, let me help you with this situation. Let’s just look at all the medication that you currently own at the moment.” They said okay. I said, where do you keep it? He said, “Okay, I’ve got some here.” He’s got all his puffers,he’s got his tablets, all this other stuff. I said, “Let’s get all that stuff up.” I said “Okay, we got some there as well in the fridge.” I went to the fridge, searched all the medication. Let’s get all of it out. Then my mom came in. She said there’s medication upstairs as well, in the fridge up stairs. Oh, really?

I go upstairs and collect all those medications and bring it down. Here we’ve got this massive pile of medications. I look at all that stuff. I go, “Wow, there’s a lot of stuff” I went through the medication. The first thing I did. I just checked expiry dates. There was 52 medications in total, more puffers, creams, tablets, all that sort of stuff, accumulated over the years. 26 had already expired. Straight away, that’s half of it. He said, “No, I’d still use that.” I said it’s expired 4 years ago. You got to get rid of it immediately. Then I take the rest of the medicines, there’s 26 left. Out of 26, 13 were not for him anymore, not indicated for him anymore. Their even substituted with some other medication.

He was still mixing the stuff up. This is an intelligent man, who’s got a very good sense of size and knowledge in medication, but that is the real situation of someone who’s 66, 67, 68 in the management of medicines. A very real situation. What I did, I helped him develop a drug chart, and then that was something again that he could take to future consultants, and have a bit more systematic approach to his health. Why am I saying this? The reason is this. When I heard about the home medication review, and before we talked about in John Jackson. I thought, what a fantastic thing.

These are real opportunity for pharmacy can evolve in this area, because not everyone has got a son who’s a doctor, that will come to specialist consultation. That’s not the problem, this is a real world situation. I look at the fact that we’re capping things like home medication review, and things like that. I really don’t see the sense of it. I really see that this huge opportunity for us to, not just increase the funding, but also use it rationally. These are real problems in terms of the quality use of medicines.

We keep talking about access to new medicines, but a lot better ways they can use current medicines, so that patients get the benefit. Normally, as I mentioned, the needs of patients is not static. We’re taking a snapshot right now, and say that the cost of healthcare is this. Let’s just keep it was it is. The needs of patients are changing. We know patients want better service from the doctors. They tell us, “We don’t want better doctors. We want nice doctors.” They’ve said that in medical curriculum are changing.

Even our selection process has changed. They want access to different choice of therapies. $4 billion industry in this country, 30,000 professionals, they’re going that way. They want to prevent this stuff. They want the complementary medicines. They want more information, they are seeking more information. I think I mentioned Dr. Google yesterday. The world’s most famous medical practitioner, Dr. Google.

It’s not only that, what’s really interesting is that patients are actually going to another source of information that they rely very heavily on, and that’s Dr. Blogger. Healthcare bloggers are actually not just influencing the way the information gave about medicines, but also how they use their medicines. Patients actually go into a blogger, seeing what medications they take, and then decided on whether I’m going to continue that medicine or not, based on the information of a stranger that they’ve read about online.

You got to say to yourself, “Well this is absolutely ridiculous. How can I do that?” Why not they listen to me? Why listen to me, I’m the doctor. I’m the pharmacist. I’m the one who’s giving them advise. Why their changing the behavior. We’ve got to understand the relationship and the connection that patients have with that blogger. That blogger is going through a similar condition, a similar illness. The stories that they tell resonates with the patients that have this illness. Ultimately, people want that, you want that. That’s what you want. That’s what you want from your healthcare provider, and you’re not getting that.

It’s only when you don’t get that, you go to someone who’s a stranger online and get that information. This is a very real trend. We talked about patients wanting continued access to medicines, pharmacy. Then one thing, all the other stuff around exercise and nutrition to help them with their wellbeing as well. What are the current challenges? We’ve seen lots of graphs, charts, etcetera. I’ve intentionally taken out all my graphs and charts for the very reason that you have very intelligent people present you with enough numbers, and graphs, and charts. You know the facts.

The way I see it is this. Hear what the challenges are in the current healthcare system. Number 1, we still have a system that does not really give us equitable care. There’s still an inequity of access to healthcare in different parts of this country. That for me, universal healthcare system is still the biggest challenge. Delivery is fragmented. If you go to a hospital, you get cared in the hospital. You can then go to your GP, you get a certain level of care, you get a specialist. There’s still not that great sense of communication and coordination between different parts.

You’ve only experienced this. You got one doctor, one GP, you got to tell your story all over again. You go to another GP, you got to tell your story all over again. We still have a very fragmented healthcare system. I just want to ask a question there. How many people have filled out their eHealth record? Show up hands. Fantastic. Leaders of healthcare, and we haven’t filled out our eHealth record. Here’s the thing. We’ve got to walk the talk. You seriously have to, because it’s all well and good to come up and talk about how bad your government is treating us this day and the other. eHealth records are a very good thing. They absolutely help solve the problem around this fragmented delivery of care.

Enormous amount of efficiencies and a great opportunity for pharmacy as well. I filled out my eHealth record. I did because of… thing is a very good idea. Again, this is an area that patients need helping. They do need help to be reminded, fill out your eHealth record. Come into pharmacy and do it. We’ll help you do that. Huge opportunity to work together with initiative that government is doing, and solved a lot of the issues in healthcare

Rising cost, we talked about it. Don’t spend about $140 billion. Many different figures has been shown. I think this is the only number that I’m putting in this presentation. It’s one of the figure I’ve got with 9.4% of GVP. It seems to be the going rate in an OECD country or developed nation for good healthcare system. If you look at countries like the United States, it’s 17.7%. $3.7 trillion being spent on healthcare. It’s completely unsustainable. Whereas this, as we say, seems to be the going way.

The reason people aren’t going to tell you, and reason governments never going to tell you that things are going okay is this. They want you to continue to find efficiency. They want you to continue to change. They want you to continue to adapt. They want you to continue to improve, so you continue to deliver the best service that you can to patients. While they’re looking for that reassurance, and it’s fantastic that community pharmacy aggrievance exist that 5 year of assurance. I don’t think that’s actually going to happen.

In my timing, 10 years ago or 7 years ago when I first joined the pharmaceutical industry, we were still stalking about finding certainty. Now, I come back and hear what’s going on, we’re still looking for certainty. You’re not going to get it. The best thing you can do is innovate, and adapt, and create your own business models..Aging population, we talked about the aging population, chronic disease and services, people like my dad. I’m putting a burden on the healthcare system, but with that, we’re actually are victims of our own success.

Let me explain what I mean. Cancer used to be a terminal disease. We had cancer, and many different types of cancer used to die very quickly. It’s now become a chronic disease, because of medications that we provide, we help people stay alive for much longer, and live a better quality of life. As such, in many different conditions, we now have a growing proportion of people with chronic disease. That puts a different kind of burden on the healthcare system.

A very big issues in our healthcare system is the inefficient allocation of resources. We are allocating resources … I’d say we spend on certain amount on state, we spend a certain amount on federal government spent. Again, we don’t have that coordination across the 2. We work in silos. Talking about the PBS, as good as it might be, is stuck in a silo. That’s the reason I decided to bringing up a big picture today, because I’m really very passionate about working across the silos and getting better efficiency across the silos of healthcare. We do have the power to do that.

The other thing that we focus on is very short-term measures. Again, whether some of the other people have talked about . When we’re looking at the healthcare the moment, we’re looking at cost, we’re not looking at value. We’re not looking at overall health outcomes. Can someone tell me what is a good health outcome for Australian Healthcare, what’s our target? What’s the goal of Australian healthcare for the next 5 years? I don’t know one. I don’t think any of you do. If we don’t have a goal, how are we going to get there? If we don’t have a goal for health outcomes in this country, how are going to get there?

That really is a big question. We have a goal for cost, but we don’t have a goal for return on investment, every other organization does. We need a vision, and we need strategy, we need goals. We can work towards them. Every stakeholder have talked to cluster healthcare ecosystem wants to work with better healthcare ecosystem, but we don’t know what the goal is. We focus on very short-term measures. They’re not real world measures. We look at hospital waiting times, for example. When I heard about the hospital waiting time issues, where people wait too long for healthcare services in this country.

What do we do? When you go to emergency,no more long hospital waiting times, now it’s going to be 4 hours max. You’re not going to wait longer than 4 hours in a hospital emergency waiting room. What happens? I know because I’ve talked to emergency doctors. Here’s what happens. Patients come in, within 4 hours, we get you into the emergency department. This time we’re not going to treat you. Before you we actually try to treat … The staff won’t treat you, we’ll just ship you off within 4 hours onto another ward, like a short-stay ward, or something else.

We’re really passing on to fix this short-term measure that we’ve implemented within the system. We really need to be looking at long-term outcomes in the PBS, we have to look at those outcomes, and in other areas of healthcare as well. If we keep training like this, we get some political wins, but we’re actually not getting any real wins in the healthcare system. Then we’ve got a system that’s really focused on disease rather than prevention, and really not looking at rook cause. A lot of people coming with stress.

A doctor, unfortunately, only has a certain amount of time to deal with stress. We’re not really getting to the root cause of it. We know that stress then goes on to cause cardiovascular disease. There’s implications and other sort of diseases as well. We’ve got a system that’s really focusing when people are sick. We’ve got a sick care system. What we need to have is a well care system, address people when people are sick, but also when they’re well. Why is this important? Look at how you manage your car at the moment.

You look at your car engine. Do always fix your car when it has a problem, or do you also take it for regular servicing to prevent it from having the problem? Similar when you to your dentist. Your dentist recommends you got to a dentist every 6 months to prevent any serious issues from happening. That will prevent any serious issues. Whereas in our system, we’re actually fixing the problem after the problem has already occurred, rather than trying to prevent problem. We really need to shift the focus of the system away from just disease alone, but more to the wellbeing and preventive side.

Albert Einstein have said, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created it.” The journey that we’ve got to so far has come from a way of thinking, a way that we’ve thought about our healthcare system. For us to move forward, to advance the healthcare system, we need a completely different way of thinking. Einstein used the word consciousness. In healthcare it would be health consciousness. We need a different way of thinking about our healthcare in order for us to move forward.

What is innovation all about? People get confused about innovation. The thing is, innovation is the next smart phone. It’s not necessarily a new smart phone. Innovation is that … I’ll keep the definition very simple. It’s something that’s new, is different, involves change or a form, and it creates value. You actually get improve health outcomes. You ought to get reduced mobility, reduced mortality, you reduce cost, or you generate revenue if you’re a for profit organization. Who do we doing innovation for? The stakeholders, either patients, or consumers, service providers, or the healthcare users.

At anyways you can involve anything, you can involve services, you can involve products. Often we talk about innovation, we talk about the next thing block buster drug, not necessarily the case. Particularly now that we’re not getting as many as blockbuster drugs that we need to innovate and how we got those drugs paid for but he ecosystem. While processes policies structured in business models.

Here’s a real thing about when we innovate, when we do something different. We tend to forget this side of things. When we innovate, there’s a lot of confusion, that can be anger, that can frustration, because there’s a big change that we’re not used to. We’re going out of our comfort zone. Instead you want to see the tone, and listen to the tone of all the speakers at this conference and a lot of people in healthcare, we see that. We see a little bit of anger, we see some frustration, we see a lot of these things happening amongst the medical practitioners, amongst industry, and so and so forth.

In this state leadership, and very often when you make some very big decisions. Typically, like in US, if I’m going universal healthcare, a lot of mistakes can happen. That happens with innovations, get used to it. What we said is best practice before is no longer best practice in the future. You can just imagine, what you’re currently doing is best practice, and you know for years, and years, and years, this is the best way to do it. Then someone comes along and says to you, “Hey, actually what you’re doing right now is wrong. There’s a better way to do it.” How do you feel about it? That’s the challenge a lot of you are going through right now in the healthcare system.

Ultimately what we’re looking for is a win-win. The win for the industry, win for practitioners, and win for patients. We’ve got to hold that as a guiding principle. Sometimes it’s a win-lose-win. One industry wins, patients win, but one part of the industry loses. That’s the reality of how it’s working today. Ultimately, I only considered the patient needs, everything else then comes out to evolution. What are some of the potential solution going forward? What are some of the things that you can take away, and use it in your organizations? I’m pretty much trained to go out on a limb here, and say here’s what we see as some of the future trends that are happening in the healthcare industry across the western world. He want to adopt some of these things, and think about how these might relate to the organization by all means.

First things is, first look within. If you’re now looking for a solution to some of the challenges you’re having, payment models. How do convince government better? How do we look at faster registration processes? The first thing I’d say is first look within. Very often, and studies have shown that the best ideas often come from our own customers. That’s one potential solution. Our suppliers, so people within the value chain. The shareholders within our organization as well as our employees.

Here’s a very strong source of ideas for solution. What is it I’m going to see happening? We’re going to see a huge expansion of integrated care models. I talked about a bit eHealth system. Any system that’s going to allow greater coordination of access between hospitals patients. This might be pharmaceutical companies. It might be medical practitioners as well. We’re going to see an expansion there. Government’s investing in that. They’re going to invest more in that space. We’re going to look at how specialist can get access to patients in the community. We’re going to look at how GPs can get that access to patients, and so on and so forth.

Integrated care is definitely going to be the way forward. We’re also going to see greater localized community care. We’ve already heard and think about how Medicare locals may not be around much longer. I think that probably will be true. I see a great amount of merit in having very localize systems of provisioned, of care that cater to local communities. You might have seen an area where higher levels of aboriginal population, then they had different sorts of needs, to areas in Eastern suburbs of Sydney.

When we have localized care, we have better quality of care. However, having said that, government have said they’re going to change the structure around how they deliver it. The great opportunity here is that, here’s a place that pharmacy can interact with, here’s a place where we can interact within healthcare systems better with community. I think the idea or the principle of a localized unicare system is the definitely the way we want to go. We want to push more services out of busy hospitals and more into the community, absolutely.

We’re going to see a lot of workforce innovation. If we look at the running cost of hospital’s about $25 billion, while 70% of that is starting cost. We’re really going to see how we can change staffing cost within the healthcare system, so we got to see a few things. Devolution, we talked about. The federal government, moving responsibilities away from fed government over to state government. That’s to remove duplication, and so state government have more flexibility. I believe that’s going to help it.

The other thing we’ve got to see is delegation. If you don’t get force delegation, I suggest you look at delegation. That is moving roles from the highly paid workers to lower paid workers. You might have specialist that… institute talk about moving endoscopies from specialist getting paid $250,000 to nurse practitioners that are paid about $60-70,00. That is a reality that could happen. I think really we are going to look at moving the workforce away from busy general practices or into pharmacies, such as task like vaccination for example, preventive health checks. I think a lot of that can be moved away from the more higher paid areas into the more lower paid areas within those efficiencies.

Outsourcing can be very controversial when you talk about government jobs, but absolutely necessary. What do I mean by outsourcing? There’s almost selling work over agencies or sending it over overseas, where you get lower cost and efficiencies. Is that even possible? Absolutely. Already happening now. A lot of your x-rays, when you go to a private sector are being outsourced and being read by specialist in India that cost maybe 20%-30% if what specialist would it for here. They’re even being done after hours, so you get greater access there.

These processes of an outsourcing are actually being done. If we live in a globalized world, which we do, you really want to be looking at how you can do that, particularly for your back end processes, such as accounting, IT , etcetera, a lot of ways of which you can do that in the organization. I’m really keen to see, and I think we will see greater concept to collaboration. We do a lot of work in the pharmaceutical industry, or in clinical research still. We do a lot of work around advocacy. We do a lot of work within the community. Same with health insurance, same pharmacy, that even pharmacy reserves $10 million in research funding.

I think the precious of a tightened healthcare budget is actually going to force us to look outside, and look in other sub-sectors of healthcare economies of scale. That’s really going to happen. I think it’s going to be a very strong thing. I think it’s going to be very positive thing, because we’re going to have much better ideas working with other sub-sectors of healthcare. I don’t think we do it enough at the moment. I think there’s real opportunities for health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy, and other stakeholders work outside of each other to gain those efficiencies. I think that’s going to be a real thing, we’re going to see more of that.

I think the titling of budgets in this space is a good thing, because it’s actually going force for this to happen. How many of you are on Facebook? Show of hands? How many people are on LinkedIn? Great, okay. We’ve got a handful of percentage of people that are on social media platforms. It’s not just social media platforms, it’s just the whole digital revolution. Healthcare is particularly bad at utilizing the digital technology. We keep talking about how we don’t have enough funds to do a lot of these things, marketing space. A lot of this stuff is of a tiny fraction of what we’re standing on right now. We just haven’t been forced to look that way.

There’s a great degree of adoption. There’s a great degree of adoption by professionals in phase. We’re not using these platforms as well as we can be. Absolutely not. There’s a lot of opportunity for your organization, to do your current jobs, and do what is needed. Patient sector engagement, they look for healthcare information here, and they’re not getting enough from credible sources like you guys. There’s a lot of opportunity to spend more time investing in how to use this more effectively.

The other key thing about social media platforms is that we know that public health education works. The biggest healthcare challenge in this country, obesity related conditions, alcohol related conditions, and smoking related conditions. Costs are about $70 billion, those three things alone. They’re all behavioral in way, if you look at the essence of what they are. We know how public information works, or we looked at things like melanoma skin cancer. The rates have dropped by 10%. The Slip Slop Slap has all been working over the last 10 years or so. Again, here’s this huge opportunity, use this platforms now and adapt for the future.

We looked at personalized health information technology as well. People want to get more personalized with their healthcare. We’re seeing a lot more wearable tech. These things are like wristbands. How many people heard of the Fuel Wristband by Nike? It measure the amount of steps that you take. It get very effective, can be used for conditions like obesity. Apps that we can have on our smart phones measure food calorie intake, etcetera. A lot of these things are really coming to the full.

We talked about personalized medicines. I won’t cover that anymore, because personalized medicines really talk about genetics and how we can target some genes that predispose as certain diseases in order to influence health and wellbeing. We don’t talk so much about personalized health. What do I mean by personalized health? Where technology starting to come out and we’re inviting some companies in the states around the area of personalized health. Then these technologies that actually going to look at epigenetics.

Epigenetic is how the environment is currently affecting your healthcare. What do I mean by environment? That sis the food that you eat, the light exposure that you get, the people that you’re around, the amount of stress that you have, and how much you, as an individual, can actually experience before you produce disease. That comes from measuring things like arm length, leg length. The don’t even have to do your DNA sample anymore. They can just take a bit of a history, look at your cultural origin, and measure some things about you, before coming to personalize heath. This is what we’re going to see moving forward.

I’ll run through it rest of it.. We’re going to see more on the space of integrated I’ve talked a bit about that, traditional Chinese medicine are better. Countries like India, and China, and 2 billion people can’t be wrong. There could be something in it. The reason is, particularly in western countries have all these data in English. We discount the fact that they actually work. We really need to look at that. Again, do a multi practitioner consultations. The system really needs to adjust so that you can see your doctor, your pharmacist all at the same time, and get reimbursed for it as well.

We talked about pricing and value of healthcare. They key important here is how do we measure success? If we don’t have a goal, how do we know which way we’re going? We talked about innovative payment models. I do have an opinion on this about free healthcare systems, and that comes from really talking to a lot of doctors. When I say to them, “who are your best patients?” They said private patients. I said why. “Because they’re paying for the service”

When we think about end game, what the end game here? The end game for us is we want to help people get the best healthcare and value your own healthcare. They get that, and they feel like that. We know a lot of psychology comes from that when they pay for something. I’m not saying everybody should pay. People who can’t afford, they shouldn’t pay. We should have those protection they just in place. I don’t think that paying a little bit for your healthcare is necessarily a bad thing.

We talked about leadership thinking for the future. I think we all got to change the way we think, particularly in leaders. We’re all leaders in this room. I really do think we’ve got to stop looking at it from a patch protection way. How can I protect may patch more? Look at the best patient outcomes, and how can it work with other sectors of healthcare to deliver those outcome. I think that’s the big thing. Very important, the soft stuff and relationships to a degree would lost the trust. Some sectors of healthcare have lost the trust of public.

I think that relationship with the public really needs to be restored. Great transparency is required. One of the reasons we’re recording tonight is so we could put it out there and just have that conversation with people about what we discussed in these rooms, so people are actually aware of what’s going on. I think the public needs to know what we do in these sectors of industry. They don’t know enough. They’re not educated enough in this space. Particularly, we need to rebuild that culture of trust.

It sounds like a soft thing. Trust, a bit airy-fairy, it’s a big kumbaya, but we know the economics of trust is this. When you have greater trust in the system, you increase fee and you reduced cost. When you have 2 parties doing business together, transacting together, and there’s a high degree of trust, that transaction appears much faster, and the cost of that transaction also is reduced. There’s a lot of things that you can do to improve trust. I suggest you read a book by Stephen Covey, called the Speed of Trust. It’s a very good powerful book. It’s a global best-seller. It really talks about active things that you can just increase trust in the organization.

Finally, I’ll just cut short on the future solutions for Australian healthcare. We’re involved in developing a whitepaper for all the future solutions for Australian healthcare which interviews 20 of the top leaders, CEO of Australian healthcare. We expect that this can be launched at the future of Medicare Summit in August. In order to get updates for that, all you have to do is just go to this website, and subscribe to that to get an update for when the paper will be released.

Currently we’ve got Professor Ian Frazer, these are people who have committed. Professor Ian Frazer, Professor Stephen Leeder, Dr. Martin Cross, Chairman, Medicines Australia, a few pharmaceutical CEOs, a couple of health insurance. Mr. George Savvides, John Bronger form the pharmaceutical society, Dwayne Crombie from Medibank BUPA, and also for not for profit. And we’re continuing to get that data. That’s really going to give us, one-on-one interviews with all these leaders who said to us “Here’s what we think needs to happen moving forward.”

That’s pretty much it from me. I just want to need some of the contact details if you want to get in touch. If you’d like to find out exactly when is white paper comes, just send and sms with your email address to that number and you we’ll let you know when that happens. That’s pretty much it for me. I hope that was useful for you. I hope that you were able to take just 1 or 2 things that you’d be able to implement in your organization tomorrow. Thank you.



Collaboration is the New Black in Healthcare

These last few months, I’ve been working on an industry White Paper called “Future Solutions for Australian Healthcare”.

The intention of this White Paper is to identify unique insights that exist within the Australian healthcare system in order for us to really look at areas where sub-sectors of healthcare can collaborate with each other in order to solve common problems.

The White Paper’s  intention is also to identify potential strategic alliances within different areas of the healthcare industry and this also includes the wellness industry.

It is time to identify, approach, and develop models outside traditional healthcare models in order for us to achieve solutions to the problems that we currently experience.

It was Albert Einstein that said “We can’t solve the problems of the past with the consciousness that created it.” In essence, what Albert Einstein was saying is we need a new way of thinking in order to solve the healthcare problems of the future.

The government currently spends in excess of a $140 billion a year in Australian healthcare. That’s a lot of money and yet we continue we continue to have problems where the industry is fragmented, not everyone receives an equitable level of healthcare and there are many people that still don’t receive the value in healthcare that they actually deserve. At the same time, the government is faced with costs that are spiraling.

In Australia, the problem is moderate but becoming worse with the nation’s spending about 9.4% of GDP in healthcare. In the US, the problem is increasingly acute where the spend is about 17% of GDP, a phenomenon that is unsustainable.

Things have to change.

I have worked as a clinical doctor in the UK as well as Australia, I’ve worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, I’ve worked in wellness and alternative health and I’ve seen many different areas of healthcare. What was really phenomenal to me was that everybody is in it for the right reason, everybody wants to make a positive difference, everybody wants to make changes.

But what’s interesting is that all these different sectors are still working in silos. They are all trying to achieve similar objectives and wanting to improve patient outcomes but not really coordinating with other parties in doing so. And if they are, then they’re not doing it very strategically or in a way that can make the most impact.

Now, maybe I was lucky. May be all the people that I worked with in all those different sub-sectors were good people and I missed the ones that were in it for profit or to harm patients or to make things in the healthcare system worse.

I have to be honest I didn’t really come across too many of those people in all my 15 years of healthcare.

If they do exist, they’re in the vast minority. However, that’s just my humble opinion.

You may call me naïve or ignorant. I, on the other hand, choose to see the flip side of the coin and look at the opportunities for those that have similar visions, passions and beliefs to come together to solve some of these problems in the healthcare industry.

I believe that health insurance, pharmaceuticals, doctors, nurses, allied health, alternative health can come together to work things out and share resources, work synergistically and work more efficiently to solve the problems that we currently face in the healthcare industry which are primarily still lack of equitable care, average patient outcomes, and rising costs that are unsustainable.

I don’t believe the pot needs to get bigger. I just think it needs to be shared around a lot more.

As such, my organization Energesse as an independent specialist consultancy in healthcare and wellness is developing an industry White Paper in collaboration with several other consulting agencies. This industry White Paper is dedicated towards identifying those synergistic opportunities with different sectors of the healthcare industry and to solve common problems.

Thus far, we have already identified and secured 8 of the top 20 leading authorities and thought leaders as well as CEOs in Australian healthcare to combine their knowledge and expertise in one solid voice.

I’ve now learned that we also now have the opportunity to present the findings of this White Paper at the “Future of Medicare Conference” in Sydney in August of this year.

Along the way, I will be presenting similar ideas and looking for collaborators at the various conferences I speak at such as the “Future of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Summit”, the “Health Insurance Summit” in Sydney, as well as the “World Congress of Prevention and Wellness” in San Diego.

And so my question to you is this- how can you as a healthcare provider collaborate with another provider within your sub-sector to deliver better patient outcomes and to do things more efficiently such that you can share resources and actually reduce the costs of the healthcare system?

I think everybody’s ideas are required at this point in time and so is yours. Let me know what your thoughts are and what your ideas may be, the future of the healthcare system needs it.

What is the ‘Wellness World’ coming to? With Michelle Bridges from ‘The Biggest Loser’ Show

Over this last weekend I travelled to Melbourne for the Australian Health and Fitness expo which gave me some deeper insights into the world of fitness and wellness – and what an EXPO-SE it was!

It definitely was like anything I was expecting!

I initially thought I would be surrounded by gym equipment and companies. However, there was much more to it than that – so where do I begin?

Well, let’s start with my highlights- the main one being meeting Michelle Bridges, the celebrity personal trainer from the Australian version of the Biggest Loser and hearing her speak. Whilst she is an exceptionally motivating speaker, her message is also very simple and clear.

Michelle has clearly worked hard over the years to not only stay in shape, but also stayed dedicated to keeping her clients fit and healthy whilst growing a multi-million dollar career. Her story was so inspiring as she had moved from a small town to Sydney in a small car that had all her belongings in the back, aiming for a bigger future as a personal trainer.

She even started her career in fitness training at the age of 14, when she convinced the owners of a local tennis court that she should be providing fitness coaching to all their members.

Indeed, she has a determined mindset. A sense of self belief that seems to be the trait of all successful people. And with all successful people that I have met in this space, they all say the strength of our minds, comes well before the strength of our bodies.

Michelle’s message to her audience was simple. If you are wanting to get fit and healthy, firstly figure out what you really, really want in life. Her example was that many overweight people complain about the negatives, and focus on what they don’t want, such as the displeasing look from others, the health problems and the affect their weight has on social relationships. Many are “stuck in a rut” and their eating habits get worse but they subconsciously prefer to stay that way than change and get healthy.

Michelle’s solution for this is to then MAKE A PLAN for how to get what you really, really want. Figure out a way to get there, and if you don’t know, ask for help, either from personal networks or professionally.
And finally, her advice is to TAKE ACTION. Of course, this may seem rather simplistic but it where everyone falls down. She has the 3 C formula for success. And the 3 C’s are:

1. Consistency

2. Consistency

3. Consistency

I was so surprised, an in fact, quite startled at how obvious this piece of advice is. If you want to become successful at anything, you have to change your behaviour pattern so you adopt A PATTERN for success that is repeated over and over again.

This is a mantra she has adopted in her 12 week Body Transformation (weight loss) program which several people I know have tried and delivered remarkable results. For a nation that tallies first or second in the world for the obesity epidemic, programs such as these are a much needed non-medical solution.

Her pattern of success involved waking up at 5 am every morning and going for her run. Despite her longstanding fame and success, I could see that she was still in very good shape and very conscious of her diet. She also mentioned the trials and tribulations of working with clients to adopt such success behaviours, sometimes which drove her to tears more than her clients!

I am not surprised that Michelle is such a successful entrepreneur in the wellness industry as well. Her messages are very similar to philosophies I teach wellness business owners when it comes to growing their businesses.

Having the mindset to persist across business challenges is paramount and success behaviours you need to have as an entrepreneur in the health and wellness space include working the hours necessary, ensuring you have a solid business plan and being consistent with calling potential clients and ensuring the quality of your service is CONSISTENT.

My one biggest takeaway was ensuring that I was more consistent with making calls to potential clients, and moving it to the first thing in the morning. For my business, I know that the more conversations I have, the more successful my healthcare business becomes, and the more health leaders I am able to help. That gives me a lot of fulfilment.

As for you, what success behaviours do you need to adopt to make yourself a success?

Do you REALLY understand who you want to help?

Dr. Avi: Good day folks, I’m Dr. Avi here.

Today I wanted to talk to you really about understanding who really is your target audience. Many people in the health and wellness industry even CEO’s, entrepreneurs, sometimes we’ve been in the business so long or we’ve been doing our service or running our practices for such a long time that we forget to understand who really our target audience or target market is and who is it exactly that we want to serve in the world and that’s happened to me in the last couple of weeks.

I’ve really realized that I really need to focus on the leaders, the people that are really making a big difference in the world and they don’t necessarily have to be the leaders that one big organizations, they can also be consultants, other risk takers, and people that really think big and are willing to take the risks and do what it takes to serve the broadest population and change the world of health care and well-being. I’ve really gone back to that state of thinking, who really is the target audience that I’m really wanting to serve?

Once you figure that out, after that you want to figure out what are their major challenges? What are the biggest problems that they’re currently experiencing in their lives? Are they looking for better health? Are they looking for better relationships? Are they looking for more money? Are they looking for more certainty? What is it exactly that is the biggest problem that they currently experience?

Once you find that out you actually need to go to that such a great level of detail as to their biggest problems and challenges, so that you understand their problems and challenges better than they do themselves. If you’re treating people with back pain, for example, then you need to understand the anguish, the aggravation, the frustrations, the joys that that person experiences to a greater degree than they experience themselves and in all your marketing and your communications you need to have those messages incorporated into your communications, to that a particular customer or patient or target audience.

This is something that I’ve been doing as well as understanding what are the greatest challenges in health care and wellness today? What are the leader’s problems? How can I articulate those problems better than they can do themselves? As I said, I’m always very transparent about how I go about my business and as I do that I want to share those learnings with you as well, so you can develop your health and wellness organizations to a higher degree of success.

Finally, it’s only when you’ve done these exercises do you create your product or create your offering and communicate what your value proposition is to that target audience. That’s step number four, so really, as I’ve said the first step is to identify who is the target audience that you really want to serve? What are their income levels? Where do they hang out? Where do they work? What types of jobs do they have? What are their dreams, their aspirations? What are their greatest problems? What websites do they read or visit? What newspapers or articles do they frequent? Or magazines? Where do they get their media from?

It’s so important to get such a crystallized level of detail in terms of the people that you want to serve, because once you figure that out then figure out what are the greatest challenges, the next step, articulate that problem better than they can do themselves, and it’s only then that you develop your offer or your product or your service and communicate what that service is all about.

I hope these tips have really helped you refocus and retarget your energy into the people that you really, really want to serve in the world. I’m Dr. Avi, bye for now.

Anita Moorjani on New Paradigm for Health and Business Leaders

Anita: One of the things that I wish that in education, I wish that kids would learn from a very young age how damaging competition is, and we get into the system where we compete from the time that we’re really little, just so little, we are taught to compete at every level of the education system, and what this does is it already gives us the message from the time we’re little that we’re not good enough as we are. We got to look at everyone else, and then we got to get better than them, because there’s not enough to go around. There’s not enough places in the next school. I’ve got to be better than them to get into the best school.

It doesn’t allow us to express who we are or to find out our own uniqueness. It sets us up to create a world of us and them. It sets us up to see everybody else as a potential enemy, as a potential someone who’s going to take my place in the next school if I don’t get ahead of them. It sets us up to see the world as a doggy dog world, as a world that’s hostile, instead of a world that’s loving. If education leaders knew that, if government leaders knew that, we could do a lot to change it. If in fact, even if medical people leaders [inaudible 00:01:33], the medical world knew that, medical arena knew that, they could change health care in the same way, where it’s not all about drugs.

But it is about having community and having love and having passion and having joy. If everybody, well not global leaders actually had a sense of humor like [Nap 00:01:53], that would also help a huge amount, so all of these things would be really helpful.

Dr. Avi: How do you bring these changes in?

Anita: You mean how do we … or how do they bring it in?

Dr. Avi: How collectively do we introduce all these changes in such a competitive world?

Anita: It is actually by allowing a different paradigm by showing … and it’s not about fighting what’s there. I never believe in fighting what’s there, it’s about allowing a new way of being and a new way of thinking, and for people to see that there is a better way. I mean … and you think about all the billions of dollars that we are putting into cancer awareness and how much we are teaching people and how much energy we’re putting into cancer awareness. Imagine if we put that same amount of energy and money and awareness into health instead of cancer, we’d see a very different world and a very different paradigm. It’s about thinking differently in that sense, just shifting the focus.

Do you suffer from “If Only I had….” Syndrome?

Some people are very interesting – aren’t they? Throughout my life, I’ve been involved in the healthcare industry for over 15 years and this has given me a great insight into people.

Having grown up and studied in Malaysia, Singapore, UK and Australia, I met and befriended all kinds of people from eastern and western cultures. And they’ve had a diaspora of beliefs that confronted each other but often also coalesced in harmony.

Working as a doctor in hospitals in the UK and Australia, I treated them when they were sick and depressed and saw them heal and go home in good spirits. And then there were those that I could not help even with the best of medicine, and died with their families around them or sometimes alone. I witnessed their attitude to life in the best and worst of times.

When I moved into the business of biotech and pharmaceuticals, I saw the big picture of healthcare, how financials shape the world and how governments and businesses interact to create a ‘healthcare ecosystem’, which ultimately was also driven by people and their opinions.

In my time as a filmmaker and entrepreneur, I heard their stories and learnt how to tell theirs as well as my own. I developed a courage that I had not needed before, a courage to brave the world under my own ‘brand’, the wits in my head, the passion in my heart and the clothes on my back. No big brand like “Pfizer” to support me. And I saw a different side of people then.

And in all that time, I found that there are really only 2 kinds of people in this world.

This may seem very simplified, and yes we can shift between these two kinds of people, particularly in our 7 Areas of wellbeing, particularly areas such as Career and Finance.

Type V – People who believe that ‘the world happens to them’

Type H – People who believe that ‘they happen to the world’

What do I mean here?

Well the Type V as I call them, are the ones that suffer from “If only I had….” Syndrome. They are often ‘victims’ of how the world (other people, employers, God, natural disasters, family members, ex-husbands/wives, etc) has them wrong and their problems are always somebody else’s fault.

While they may be proactive in some areas of their life, such as their social life or physical wellbeing, they are often reactive and disempowered in others areas, such as with their business, work or money.

When they don’t get what they want in those areas of life, they often tend to say “ Ah, if only I had an investor, my business would be going great” or “if only I was better looking, someone would hire me” or “if only I had white skin, I would have more friends” or “if only I didn’t have this disease, my life would be great”.

For these Type V, there is always a reason why they did not get something and it was due to their own bad luck and there was nothing they could do about it (or at least they thought). Interestingly they may not have this attitude in all areas of their life, just in the areas they appear to have been unsuccessful in achieving their desires.

Then, there is the Type H, which are the ‘Heroes’. Type H are the masters of their own destiny. They are often very positive and successful in business and in life. They are happier (or at least appear to be), because no matter what disaster, tragedy or illness happens to them and knocks them down for a period of time, they find a way to bounce back.

They also get along better with others and do the best with whatever God has given them. These people aren’t better looking, they don’t necessarily have more money nor were they’re the best academically. They believed in how well they were, even when they were sick.

They just made the most of what they had, they believed in going out and getting what they wanted in life, despite the odds and making their business successful, no matter how dumb, ugly or ignorant the world thought they were.

I admired the Type H people. They were still human, and had the usual flaws of being perfectly human. And they are times when they got depressed and defeated through life’s challenges, but they have heart, and they are persistent in getting to their goals, especially if their goal is as simple as daily happiness.

Now I know that this may seem a little judgmental or even controversial, however it is just my own observation of people having worked across many careers, countries, cultures and organisations.

But here’s the secret…..

Being Type V or Type H is a choice.

We are not born this way nor were we made this way.

At some point in life, and in some areas of our life, we chose to be either Type V or Type H. And we can change at any time……

So, which one you rather be?

Have you met anyone with “if only I had…..”syndrome?

My Business Coaching Secrets – Exposed!!

For a very long time, I never knew what a business coach really did. Furthermore, I never even really saw myself as a business coach – ever!

So how have I now become one of the leading business coaches for the Healthcare and Wellness industry???

Well, let’s first take a look at what a business coach is – Business coaching is a type of personal development of your business skills, mindset and expertise. A good business coach or mentor provides positive and constructive support, feedback and advice to an individual or group basis (such as in a mastermind group like my Health Leaders Mastermind to improve their personal effectiveness in the business context and fast-track business growth.

Business coaching includes executive coaching, corporate coaching and leadership coaching, all of which can be incorporated in solid mentoring program.

What really interested me was that according to a MarketData Report in 2007, an estimated 40,000 people in the US, work as business or life coaches, and the $2.4 billion industry is growing at whopping rate of 18% per year.

Furthermore, according to the National Post in the US, business coaching is one of the fastest growing industries in the world! To me, that sounded like not only a great opportunity, but a very resounding message that the business world is waking up to having a credible sounding board for advice and that is can deliver substantial business benefits.

After having been a CEO of 3 companies and learning a lot about success and failure in business, I looked back at my diverse career and made a decision that was more aligned with my personal vision and mission, which is to help 1 million with their health & wellbeing by 2022 and 1 billion people by 2032.

That meant that I needed a model to build and grow not just one health & wellness company, but many of them. Business coaching for the Health and Wellness industry was the answer – this way I could support CEO’s, Entrepreneurs and Executives develop their products and services to enable greater global wellbeing.

When the idea was presented to me by one of my own business mentors, James Schramko, who is one of the world leading internet marketers,it made complete sense.

You see, I have pretty much been the “wise old one” all my life, giving sound advice to family members, patients and then in business, even to the CEO of Pfizer in Australia, helping him grow the business strategically to over $1 bil a year in annual revenue. I’ve always had a great gift for solving problems quickly, particularly in the business setting and also predicting future trends.

So how do I do it?

Click here to sign up for my next webinar or read on.

Well much like when I was a doctor, whenever I see a client, I have a 3 step approach:

  1. I make a Diagnosis (of where the individual and the business is currently at). I identify the goals and objectives and particularly get into the metrics of success this is often the financial bottom line.
  2. I prescribe some Treatments (or business solutions). For this process I use a Mind Map, which looks at key areas of the business.  You can check it out hereHealth Business Growth v1
  3. Follow up mentoring and management – This is the most critical piece as ongoing management is vital to sticking the proposed ‘treatments’, making sure the business solutions are implemented correctly. Sometimes I help the individual deal with mindset or physical issues that may be holding them back from achieving their best results in their business. Apart from strategic guidance and direction, I have found that the emotional support to help with the ups and downs of daily business challenges is also absolutely vital.

So that’s my first secret.

However, in my experience, when you want to grow a business and you have multiple business leaders with a common set of issues, a business mastermind group in one of the best ways to solve it.

And that’s why I created the Health Business Mastermind. The advantages of the Mastermind group are that not only do the leaders receive my mentoring it also gives access to a very select community of senior Health & Wellness business leaders.

Many of them also have the opportunity to collaborate and form Joint Ventures, Strategic Alliances and Partnerships to benefit their business. It’s also a place where they can be safe and accountable to their actions, while remaining focussed on their goals.

Leadership can be lonely, and in a mastermind, you get that mental and emotional support that you need, no matter how senior you are. It’s been getting great results and is open to Healthcare and Wellness CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are also practitioners such as doctors, dentist, pharmacists, allied health professionals and even fitness and health coaches. You can read more about the application process here.

And if you’d like to get the benefit of my coaching at a free webinar, just click here.

What was the best business advice that you ever received in your career?

5 Tips for Networking like a Rockstar

Networking is a fundamental skill in business. No doubt about it. It can make presidents, and form the foundation for high profile industry experts.

When someone meets you in person, they can learn so much more about you, than if they spoke to you on the phone or saw you online. They see how you really look, dress and sound like.

They get to see your authenticity (or lack of it). It becomes a rare opportunity in today’s world to connect with you on a personal level. It could save you months or years of cold calling, e-mailing or bugging receptionists to give you 5 minutes with the leader in your field that you want to partner with.

Most people are predominantly visual (approximate 55%) and communication is approximately 70% body language, so networking can become a great asset in acquiring clients, new business partners or new investors if done well. If done poorly, it can even harm your chances at having a good business.

So what is networking actually? It is defined by the Oxford Dictory as ‘interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts’. Business networking can happen at business conferences, meeting, parties and social gathering, even family occasions.

I’m particulary interested in networking in the healthcare and wellness sector as here is where I am most experienced and wish to help others. To be truthful, networking in this sector is very similar other industries. This is true particularly when it comes to major health, wellbeing or medical conferences.

Just like other industries I’ve worked in such as film & media, technology companies, internet marketing as well as the range of health, medical, pharmaceutical events, the dynamics in networking events are very similar.

You always have the “old guard” the people that have ‘made it’, who have been in the industry for years and hang together in a clique. They are often organisers or attendees at these functions. Some of the old guard enjoy meeting and teaching the ‘newbies’.

The ‘newbies’ are the brand new entrants into the industry, and have only been in it for under 3 years. Some are bright and shiny eyed, eager to meet the ‘old guard’, while others are much more shy, stand in a corner and wait until someone comes to speak to them. One wonders if their boss forced them to be there.

Then there’s the ‘upcomers’. These are the younger, smarter ones that have innovative new ways of doing things and have hit some home runs in their industry, early in their career. They are often admired by some of the “old guard” and are the select few outside the ‘old guard’ that are invited speak at the major industry conferences.

There are also the ‘stalwarts’ who are those who have been in the industry for a reasonable period of time, often over 5 to 10 years and have decent stable businesses with recurring revenue, but tend not to make too much of a fuss. They are content in their position and help others when possible.

These titles I have just mentioned are not in any textbook, rather they come from years of observations having attended many a conference in many different industries.

What I’ve realised is that it really doesn’t matter which category they sit in, or which category you think you sit in, there are 5 major tips you absolutely must learn about networking so you can get your health or wellness business flying, through the art and skill of networking:

1.       Pick your event strategically

When you are starting out in your career, it is a good idea to go to as many events as possible to get a “lay of the land”. You will get to figure out which events you like, have people that you most resonate with, offer great content or allow for effective networking. It also helps build your profile and get yourself know in the industry.

When you get to a stage like me, where you have a few more years under your belt, I tend to know have a select list of events that I go to where I know I will get the maximum opportunity for my business, either through the people that I meet or the content that I receive.

These days, meeting people is far more valuable than the content, as a lot of content is now available online. Having said that, our time is finite. We have to spend it very wisely at networking events that are more likely to make a positive difference to our work.

2.       Set a clear objective beforehand

When you attend an event, set an objective of what you want to get out of it and specifically who you want to meet. Get your mindset right, that you are NOT GOING HOME, until you meet the person you want to meet. Practise what you are going to say before you meet them.

I’ve had past employees that I have sent to events with a specific instruction to meet someone. They came back and said they met them, but the speaker was too busy to talk and they couldn’t get near them or excuse, excuse, excuse.

In this situations, my employee had unfortunately self-defeat within her own mindset before she had even got there. This is why it is so important to not only set the objective, but BELIEVE you can do it.

I’ve managed to get to some world leaders in their field, at major conferences, by being patient, waiting for the right time, setting my mindset with absolute determination and not taking no for an answer. I once queued up in line to meet Deepak Chopra, a world leading author in Mind-Body Medicine and Organisational Wellbeing, areas I am very passionate about.

There were over 2000 people wanting to meet him, the book signing queue had over 200 people and I had 15 seconds to get my book signed. I still managed to get him to give me his business card, because I did my research, was persistent and was absolutely determined despite the odds. You can too!

So set the intention of who you want to meet, summon up your courage and prepare a few lines of introduction – then just make it happen. You will be pleasantly surprised at the result.

3.       It’s not about numbers, it’s about genuine relationships

The worst form of networking I’ve seen is the “grasshopper”. The “grasshopper” is the person who spends 2 minutes with each person they meet, introduces themselves and their work, exchanges business cards and asks for the people to call them. To them, networking is a numbers game and it works poorly when treated that wau.

Networking is about developing genuine relationships. You may not work with them immediately, but over time, that relationship may evolve into very strong financial ties. Sometimes though, you may get a new client straight away!

When meeting someone for the first time, rather than pitch yourself, you may quickly say who you are, what you do and why you are interested in their work. And then, JUST LISTEN. Allow them to speak and respond accordingly.

I see so many people blurt out what they do, why they do it, their annual income, all in one go, without even knowing if the other person is vaguely interested. Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is excellent for developing this skill of relationship building.

4.       Have a professional business card and website

It still amazes me how many people still do not carry a business card. Whilst the reality is that this may be industry dependent (a lot of people in internet marketing do not carry business cards as the have a high online presence). However in the area of healthcare and wellness, I would say having a business card is a must, particularly as it is a more conservative industry.

Potential clients and partners are often very keen to “check you out online” before doing business with you. They also want an easy way to look for your details and after a big conference, they could be a multitude of people to connect with and one of them could be you!

Having a business card in the wallet or purse, makes it so much easier. Having a credible online presence i.e. website or Linkedin profile, helps convert them into a more realistic business opportunity. This has taken me years to get right, but has been well worth the investment in time.

It’s important to design your card well and professionally as it is a reflection of your identity. Simplicity works – I would recommend at least full name, e-mail address, direct phone number and name plus logo of business on the card.

If you have a poor memory, you may write details of the person, such as their description or where you met them on their business card, so you can refer to it later and remember the person. However I advise not to do this in front of them or in public as it can be rude in some cultures to mark a person business card.

In Asian cultures, you should also give AND receive business cards with two hands, thumbs facing the person.

5.       Success is in the follow up

Don’t expect anyone to call you, especially if you are relatively new to the industry.

Success really is in the follow up process and you should take it upon yourself to make contact the next day with the person you met. If you do not feel you may do business with them today, it’s good to just drop them a call afterward or an e-mil as they may know someone else that could use your services. It is also worth reminding them of something you talked about at the conversation.

If you have personal or business database and you send out high value personal newsletters, it is wise to ask them for permission if they would like to be added to your database. As long as you are not sending them promotional information on a regular basis , they might appreciate this and it keeps them in your communication loop long term.

And health and wellbeing is a lifelong game!

Have you ever heard of ‘DreamStorming’ to lift your mindset???

Brainstorming is an age-old exercise in the business world where a number of people get together and postulate various ideas on how to solve a business problem. It starts off with an immediate flurry of ideas which are at a later stage refined, analysed and implemented if considered appropriate.

This week, I came up with an exercise called Dreamstorming. I must confess it was not an original idea as one of my coaches, Sheevaun had shared this with me and all I did was give it a fancy name! In fact, this fancy name has also been used in different ways in the art of creative writing, but I felt it would be a good name for this mood-uplifting exercise.

However, I wish to use this term “Dreamstorming” in the context of business mindset. More specifically, I want you to use it to lift your mindset when you are feeling down, in the blues, when sales are poor or if you are generally having a shitty day!

This last week was a shitty week for me. My dad was in the initial stages of recovering from cardiac surgery when he had a lung collapse which had me concerned. I was hit with a viral illness followed by a bacterial illness which knocked me for six.
I was also exploring a new personal relationship with someone and the long distance was making it unworkable, and hence we decided to “just be friends”. In the mean time, I was also running my first webinar to help Health Business grow their profits, and whilst the turnout was good, it was less than the 1000 people I had wished for or expected.

As such, my mood was lower than usual and I was not feeling as positive as I normally am. In fact, I was downright depressed.

However, this “Dreamstorming” exercise changed my mindset and perked me up pretty quickly. In particular, it perked up my mindset about my work and got me closer in my usual flow. I also felt happier about what I was doing and felt ok about having a shitty day.

What to know how to do it? Here you go!


This is a simple Positive Mind exercise, when you have experienced a failure or you are feeling down or dejected in your business. It will help reset your mind and energy into a positive force where anything is possible.


On separate pieces of paper or post it notes, write down 100 loud, ludicrous, crazy, statements of things that you want to happen in your business or your life right now. They can possibly even be unrealistic in your mind – though nothing is ever unrealistic.

Write them down in BIG, BOLD font. You can stick up these affirmations around your home or workplace, or throw them away after. The intention of them alone creates a powerful mindset shift (and they CAN ACTUALLY MATERIALISE).


1. I want Richard Branson to hire me for 1 million dollars to do ……
2. I want 100 new clients to appear tomorrow on my doorstep……
3. I want to be invited to dinner by the Prime Minister of Australia to be asked for advice on ……
4. I want to be in joy with my work, every day of my life
5. Someone just paid me $100,000 to do a job that I can easily complete in a week!
6. I am surrounded by people I LOVE working with
7. I have the perfect business partner to appear and help me grow my business to $10mil a year in revenue
8. And so on……

Just let the writing flow. Once you are done, read through the list and sit in silence for a moment. Soak it in. Observe how you feel. You will notice a positive shift in your mood and mindset afterward.

Did it work for you? What affirmations did you write down in your Dreamstorming exercise?