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Harmonizing Health Care: Thinesh Chandraratne

With a 92-year legacy on his shoulders, visionary CEO Thinesh Chandraratne is taking Melbourne’s Jessie McPherson Private Hospital on a journey of public–private collaboration with empathy and innovation.

Set in the vibrant heart of Clayton, Victoria, Jessie McPherson Private Hospital is a pioneering institution that integrates public and private health care, blending tradition with forward-looking innovation and a steadfast commitment to community care.

"We are very conscious that Jessie McPherson has a proud history of over 92 years," says Thinesh Chandraratne, CEO of the 152-bed health facility.

"As the current custodians of this great historical organization, we have a responsibility to the community we serve, which is something that we take very seriously and very consciously."

"When a patient comes through our doors, we want them to feel like they’ve come home and they’ve been looked after by family."

Boasting a diverse professional background spanning various industries, including stints in executive directorship roles in his native Sri Lanka, Chandraratne assumed the CEO position at the hospital in 2020.

His vision for Jessie McPherson extends beyond the delivery of world-class health care and positive patient outcomes to developing a familial atmosphere throughout the hospital for all patients and staff.

"When a patient comes through our doors, we want them to feel like they’ve come home and they’ve been looked after by family," Chandraratne says.

"We call ourselves ‘the Jessie family’, and by that, we mean we literally look after each other and support each other."

Connecting to the Wider Community

Jessie McPherson Private Hospital is unique in its organizational structure as a private entity, while remaining a wholly-owned subsidiary embedded within Victoria’s largest public health service, Monash Health.

Chandraratne acknowledges occasional challenges from this public–private arrangement but believes the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks, contributing positively not only to the hospital’s growth but also its service to the broader community.

"Jessie McPherson was not a very big hospital," he recounts. "So from a critical mass point, it really didn’t have the bed stock or ability to really grow beyond its current footprint."

But when the opportunity came for Jessie McPherson to partner with Monash Health as its private partner at the Victorian Heart Hospital, that then enabled the hospital to free up ward space occupied by its cardiac services, growing its footprint by one-third.

"Jessie McPherson chose Dedalus webPAS (Web Patient Administration System) to support sustainable and profitable care delivery, and as the nerve center for ongoing digital innovation. With Jessie McPherson’s patient-centric culture and history of excellence in delivering quality health care, we’re excited to collaborate and contribute to its ongoing success." – Daryll Goodall, Managing Director, Dedalus ANZ, UK & Ireland


This expansion of capacity has also enabled reductions in elective surgery wait-lists and broadened care through the private hospital’s other specialized services such as neurosurgery, gastrosciences, surgical, maternity and neonatal services.

For Chandraratne, effective public–private hospital partnerships represent a new way to enhance healthcare services for doctors and patients in response to the growing need from the community.

"I think there’s a great opportunity for public and private to work together to support the community given the increasing demand in health care," he states.

"We saw this during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, where public and private worked together to serve the community, and it worked exceptionally well. For us at Jessie McPherson, it was almost second nature because we do that pretty much every day with Monash.

"We support them in managing the demand on their emergency departments across all campuses and with elective surgery wait lists as well, so I think it’s really important for the community to understand the value that the private health industry plays in the overall service of our healthcare community."

Technological Evolution

Chandraratne also believes in the continual embrace of innovative solutions, particularly as technology evolves, to ensure the hospital remains at the forefront of healthcare delivery.

"Innovation is a huge part of not only the present, but how we look into the future," he explains.

"Being part of the bigger Monash system, we were able to partner with them when they implemented their electronic medical record system, which enabled us to reduce things like medication errors and enhance the delivery of timely accurate patient care."

Another partnership that Chandraratne and the Jessie McPherson team have cultivated is with Dedalus Australia, a leading supplier of advanced digital software solutions aimed at optimizing clinical workflows and improving patient healthcare outcomes.

"Our aim is to continue to grow the ‘Jessie footprint’ because we believe that there’s a lot we can offer our doctors, the public hospital system and the community as a whole."

For Chandraratne, it’s these types of relationships coupled with effective data analysis that not only enhance strategy and operational excellence at the facility, but also position it for continued success well into the future.

"When we look at strategy and operational outcomes, we look a lot into data-driven outcomes. So having an analytical ability has enabled me to look at the organization as a whole more comprehensively and then look at the data that enables us to fine tune operations in one aspect," he explains.

Jessie McPherson is unique in that it is not-for-profit, with every surplus going back into enhancing services for the public and for the community.

"Our aim is to continue to grow the ‘Jessie footprint’ because we believe that there’s a lot we can offer our doctors, the public hospital system and the community as a whole."

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