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Why Surgical Partners came to be…

Marcus Wilson wants to save millions of dollars in medical waste. But not the kind you think. He wants to take a scalpel to the bloated back office functions that tie up medical accounting, and result in doctors wasting time on paperwork.

“I’m here to turn the industry on its head, to completely change the cost base of the way health care is delivered.

Wilson, a former healthcare analyst for Macquarie Group, has partnered with his father-in-law, Dr Richard Smith, an ophthalmologist who founded one of the first independent eye surgeries in Australia. With degrees in computer science, mathematics and physics to complement his medical degree, Dr Smith understands the power of technology.

“Take medical records, we used to have banks of filing cabinets; now it’s all online. It’s really saved money. There is a movement here that is going on.”

Surgical Partners has developed software that rolls up the myriad practice management systems used by surgeries across Australia and New Zealand. Marcus Wilson came up with the system when he took on the role of CFO of Dr Smith’s day surgery, Focus Eye Centre. It’s been an eye-opening experience for both them.

“We learn from each other, I’m 72 and still in active practice, he has an MBA and worked at Macquarie and he comes at it from a different angle. It’s very much a mutual process,” Dr Smith says.

The collaboration could deliver big dividends to the economy. A recent report launched for Westpac’s Businesses of Tomorrow program found the country could be $70 billion better off if business processes were improved.

Wilson estimates Surgical Partners could save the average practice $45,000-50,000 per year. Ultimately, with more than 85 per cent of practices doctor-owned, it’s about freeing up time for patient care.

“The practice managers can turn their attention to real clinical quality improvement in the practice.”

Surgical Partners was the recent winner of the BlueChilli health tech innovation challenge.