The conference that laughed – flashback to APAC 2015

Smiling delegates
Smiling delegates

Ko Awatea hosted its first Asia Pacific (APAC) Forum in 2012 with 950 people attending. Three years later the APAC Forum has nearly doubled in size, becoming one of the largest healthcare improvement conferences in the world. That’s an amazing accomplishment in such a short time, and a testament to the insatiable appetite people have for improving healthcare for their communities.

What this highlights is that we are not alone and wherever you go, healthcare organisations around the world are facing similar challenges. Our APAC Forum provides a platform for people to come together, share ideas and learn from one another.  For three days, people opened up their minds and hearts to endless possibilities. They went away with a toolbox of knowledge, ideas, inspiration and new contacts.  So what happens now that the Forum is over?

This was our 4th event, and we are starting to see a remarkable shift as more and more organisations use learnings from the APAC Forum to help improve and develop their health systems. What started out as a single event has now become a major part of a process and network of improvement and change.  Foundations have been laid for a learning network, which is connecting people from around the world.  A great example of this in action, in New Zealand is Ko Awatea’s learning platform called Ko Awatea LEARN With partnerships spanning eight DHBs, we have a healthcare eLearning community that is developing, growing and thriving.

The themes for the APAC Forum have also evolved, and this year we focused on how there is a need for us to collaborate in order to benefit the health and well being of our communities and population.  It focused on how the strength of good leadership at all levels of an organisation is crucial if we are to collaborate effectively. We had some fantastic learning’s to underpin this.   There was a great plenary from Ko Awatea’s director, Professor Jonathon Gray, who spoke about the importance of effective collaboration and as every All Blacks fan knows effective collaboration (team) is the foundation for success. Without it we won’t achieve the excellence we all aspire to. World famous conductor, Itay Talgam gave a fantastic presentation, using examples of famous conductors – how they lead orchestras and the particular skills the greatest conductors have for getting the best out of their musicians. Charles Vincent gave a very considered talk about safety in healthcare, finishing up with Ruby Wax, who in true ‘Ruby style’ used humour to share her insights into mindfulness and mental health.

This year’s conference laughed, shared, inspired and collaborated.  Next year will be the conference that develops further our thinking, our learning, our future and our possibilities – we will delve into new realms. We are currently on the edge of a new frontier.  Next year, we will design it and move into it.  While I can’t give too much away, it’s shaping up to be our biggest, boldest and brightest APAC Forum to date.

To revisit the highlights from APAC 2015 click here


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Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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