Travis Hodgson – General Manager, Programs & Delivery – Australian Digital Health Agency

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Intro  0:13  
Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.

Welcome to the boardroom.

Michael Murray  0:34  
Travis, thank you for joining C-Suite Partners in the boardroom. 

Travis Hodgson  0:37
My pleasure

Michael Murray  0:39
You’ve got to be one of the youngest executives that I know in the international market talk me through your career journey.

Travis Hodgson  0:44  
So I started about 718 years ago in health, just in fact, in my final year of school and I started off with base grade administration in Queensland Health. I was mailman at Prince Charles Hospital, in fact, um, so it was a great opportunity to learn the environments of the hospital, get to know all the different departments clinical workforce, how the hospital actually flows. And that’s probably I’d say, within my first 12 months at Prince Charles hospital, and I guess I developed the networks in the hospital system, and you build on those relationships through the hospital system and opportunities present themselves. So I ventured through business management. And then I really decided that this was actually going to be my career. I enjoyed the opportunity to be supporting those that care for people at their most vulnerable and it had a real value proposition for me as a young professional. But what really drives me is helping people to solve problems, things that I think are important to resolve. And it’s just with that mentality in mind, there’s just so many opportunities to help solve issues in healthcare.

Michael Murray   1:49  
And what do you think about the MBA versus real-life experience? Because you’ve been through that. What do you think?

Travis Hodgson  1:55  
I think both are important. I think before I actually studied bit young and naive, I guess, and I thought, you know, actually, I really know how to do all of this progressing and a couple of my mentors suggested to me that actually, you know, the next step in your career needs that formal credibility, you know, you need that formal qualification, notwithstanding, of course, the practical lessons that you learn through a structured learning environment, but experience gives you the lessons that you’ll learn along the way, the good, the bad, the ugly. You have things that we’d rather forget sometimes, in those experiences that I guess shape who we are as executives.

Michael Murray   2:38  
And what about mentors, you talked about them just then. Any particular mentor that comes to mind?

Travis Hodgson  2:44  
I guess the reality is, Michael, this game has, you know, very high stakes. There’s many players in powerful positions that you certainly need to consider. There’s probably one mentor that comes to mind that, I guess really highlighted to me how important these considerations are when making decisions, launching your strategy. Material minion is a very fine balance as a healthcare executive in managing initiatives that are highly focused in perhaps in some ways politically motivated, in drawing the policy parameters around what it is you do as a public servant, serving the government of the day, versus being overly enthusiastic about an initiative and getting wrapped up in the politics of it. So he very much taught me to note the political strategies, ultimately, the policies that are driving the government of the day, and to carefully consider those drivers and of course, the stakeholders around those particular initiatives in the decision-making process. 

Michael Murray   3:49  
You’ve obviously got a broad skill set. What do you look for, for executives coming in to work for you?

Travis Hodgson  3:52  
I think if you look at some of the executives that have come through the ranks over the years, they’ve been very much technically capable operators. And I think, as you know, progressing from subject matter expert to leading subject matter experts is the step up into leadership. So people that are are able to, I guess, drop the tools to some extent, and realize that they’re actually now the foreman. So you know, don’t micromanage, It’s important not to micromanage people, I think you need to be able to empower your staff, and know that you’ve got they need to know that you’ve got their back.

Michael Murray   4:27  
What would be your crowning achievement in your career so far?

Travis Hodgson  4:30  
Obviously, I’ve still got a pretty significant career ahead of me in terms of years, but I’d probably say that the most important work that I’ve been involved in was probably in the Northern Territory. And one of the initiatives we were able to develop up there through an unsourced revenue mechanism, as well as a state funding arrangement was the pathways home for indigenous patients. And these were patients that occupy hospital beds, acute hospital beds for an extended period of time. Create a little bit of pressure in terms of capacity, and being able to get these patients on the right discharge pathway home through a secondary care type environment. And in that secondary care type environment to build health literacy, and to build, I guess, the patient’s knowledge about self-care and ultimately self-responsibility around returning to community, these kinds of opportunities upon discharge, where you may be able to have an impact in reducing, you know, avoidable hospital admissions, and that had huge success. The relative stay index reduced remarkably, through that initiatives. We received quite a lot of positive feedback from communities about empowering indigenous communities to take care, it very much created not only hospital efficiencies but in a culturally respectful way, handed back to community in some regard, the determinants around pathways home.

Michael Murray   5:53  
What about your career in one word?

Travis Hodgson  5:56  
An adventure.

Michael Murray   5:58  
Travis, thank you for joining us.

Travis Hodgson  6:00
Cheers Michael.

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