After studying medicine in Sydney, Dr Linda Swan has had varied career working in hospitals, general practice, medical research and the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors.
In her newest role as Chief Medical Officer at Medibank, Linda is focused on how we can refine our health system to improve the health of all Australians. Here, she takes a moment to share some of her ideas.
What was your motivation for joining Medibank?
I was inspired by the leadership position that Medibank is taking in designing and delivering services and solutions that can improve the health of all of our members. The commitment throughout Medibank to deliver better health for our members is resulting in world class innovation and creative solutions that have the potential to positively influence healthcare in Australia.
"Let's ensure we manage the change needed to create a sustainable healthcare system."
What are you most looking forward to achieving in your new role?
Experts in health policy and health systems all agree that a move towards healthcare that is focused on outcomes rather than activity is the way of the future. I can't wait to be part of this journey with Medibank, who is uniquely positioned to make this vision a reality. This future is one where the health outcomes that result from medical treatment and a patient’s experience of our healthcare system drive ongoing improvements in healthcare for all Australians.
What do you believe are the biggest health challenges facing Australians?
To be really succinct – we are going to run out of money! With an ageing population, a rising number of Australians with chronic disease and the ever increasing costs of new technologies, governments and private payers can't afford to continue to pay for healthcare in the way we have for the last 50 years. Experts often don't agree but in this issue they are completely aligned – something has to change!
What do you believe are the biggest health opportunities in Australia?
We have a world class health system, high levels of education and social support, and a history of health leadership. Let's ensure we manage the change needed to create a sustainable healthcare system and continue to deliver health outcomes that are the envy of the world.
What role do you think Medibank can play in these opportunities for Australian members?
Medibank has already started the journey towards this new future and is exploring and introducing programs that incentivise and support a focus on health outcomes or enhancing our members’ experience of healthcare. These programs are not only good for the health of our members but they can help reduce waste and lower costs, which goes towards keeping healthcare affordable.
If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would be the top three things you would do to improve the health of Australians?
1. Ban smoking.
2. Get everyone active.
3. Make fresh fruit and vegetables cheap and easy to access.