Stuart Prosser, Founder, One For Women
Often, businesses do things in a way simply because that’s the way it’s always been done. But a few entrepreneurs dare to challenge the norms and have the knack for seeing what presently exists to what could exist. Driven by the pursuit of excellence, they bring transformative changes to the industry and create an impact in the lives of people through their dedicated ventures. One such exemplary leader who is disrupting the maternity care sector with a multi-disciplinary approach and his unique perspective is Dr. Stuart Prosser, the founder of One for Women, a multi-disciplinary clinic dedicated to offering premium maternity care services at an affordable price.
Stuart’s interest in business started way back during his teenage years when he would help his parents with cheque entry and accounts for their business. And this flowed through to his love of accounting at school. As a young General Practitioner, Stuart was very interested in processes and practice management. He was constantly looking for a way to improve the care delivery process. “I was always curious and constantly asking the questions: How can we do things better? Is there another way? I never liked to hear we have always done it this way as a response. I always felt it was important to keep putting long-held assumptions to the test to ensure there was always a good reason behind the ways we were doing things,” asserts Dr. Stuart.
Deciding to study Health Care Management as part of a Masters in Medicine and also doing an MBA augmented his desire to seek improvements in the systems and care factor around how health care is being delivered.
The Beginning of One for Women
During his years of practice, Dr. Stuart observed how specialists(health professionals) operate in silos and how patients visiting these specialists (health professionals) are expected to communicate what previous specialists and health care professionals have seen and observed and provide the specialist(health professionals) with all the existing pieces of the puzzle in the hope that they might have the final pieces to complete the puzzle. But this is unrealistic for most people and leads to compromised care instead of continuity of care which is especially critical for maternity care. As a new parent, Dr. Stuart himself also had to face several difficulties when he and his wife Kate(Kay)needed assistance while they were struggling with various issues with their first child, Noah. They consulted with multiple practitioners at multiple locations in their search for answers. And all the practitioners were focused on Noah and never did anyone enquire as to how Kay and Stuart were going as new parents. This personal experience gave him a closer look at the existing disjointed and disconnected maternity care system. And hence, with a vision to bridge this gap in the maternity care sector, One For Women was born.
One Continuous and Centrally Coordinated Journey of Care
One for Women offers a collaborative care model in which a team of midwives, GP Obstetricians, and specialists work together to deliver exceptional outcomes to patients, ably supported by allied health professionals. It is the first clinic to bring together all the complimentary services required for the delivery of outstanding antenatal and postnatal care. It utilizes unique screening tools that help identify those at risk of various health issues including post-natal depression and difficulties with breastfeeding and puts in place support and plan to optimize both clinical and patient experience outcomes. In fact, it has created a village of support for new parents – a single location where all their prenatal and postnatal needs can be met. It has a team of health professionals who are able to speak directly to each other thus relieving the patient of the need to be the main communicator and ‘puzzle builder’ concerning their care.
“The outcomes we can achieve for new parents when we have been active and guiding participants in their care from pre-natal to birth to post-natal and right through that critical fourth trimester are truly rewarding. I love seeing these new parents have a completely different experience to that which Kay and I had with Noah. I love seeing them nurtured and supported and empowered to be active participants in their care,” affirms Dr. Stuart.
The Initial Hurdle
While establishing One for Women, the biggest challenge for Dr. Stuart was making others accept the change as he realized challenging any current model of care will likely lead to significant opposition. He found it interesting and difficult that something that has such huge potential to provide better outcomes to patients could receive such pushback from within certain areas of the medical fraternity. The key aspect to the establishment of One for Women was embracing the 20-60-20 rule. To begin with the focus was on the 20% who were so opposed to the change in the model of care, I realised quickly that this 20% would not change their opinion. The 20% who have already embraced the model were already 100% onboard and were advocating on behalf of the model. The key is the 60% who are open to change, but have not yet made the jump- they are the key. (Add your bit around). This made him learn the 20-60-20 model: 20% of people will not like your idea or understand your vision. 20% won’t change, even if they do get it and think it’s a good idea. And 60% will come on board as long as you can clearly communicate your vision. Hence, it’s important to focus on the 60% and ensure you’re communicating your vision in a way that the 60% will understand and connect to. “It’s not good enough for you to get your vision – if you can’t bring people along for the ride with you, your vision will fail. It’s also important to stay with the story of your vision because when you depart from the story and it becomes a commodity, then the only variable people will care about is price,” opines Dr. Stuart.
Continues Adding More Value in the Years Ahead
According to Dr. Stuart, transparency, trust, and patient-centricity are some of the vital attributes that every healthcare leader should possess. He advises budding entrepreneurs to love what they are doing. He goes on to elucidate that while starting a project, especially something that challenges the status quo, there are so many sacrifices that are made – and many of those sacrifices can pose risks to personal relationships especially with colleagues and with family and friends. But entrepreneurs need to truly believe in what they are doing and commit fully. He recommends entrepreneurs to have at least double the time and capital that they think they need to make an idea successful and suggests them to read Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog before embarking on a startup.
Moving towards the future, the business leader sees himself taking a mentoring role and letting others come in and grow his dream further and continue to push One for Women forward. As a next step, he also plans to focus on improving other areas of healthcare along with aged care while continuing working towards his primary goal of enhancing the patient experience.
“The financial success of One for Women is important to my shareholders, but for me, my primary objective and measure of success is whether we have positively impacted the patient experience. The fact that it has raised the overall level of care, and we now have competitors electing to actively compete with us – that makes me so happy,” concludes Dr. Stuart.