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Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

A case study that shows how a new approach can benefit cancer patients.

Personal experience was the driving force behind Chris O’Brien’s mission to transform the cancer care system in Australia. Having been through it himself, he understood the need for the best possible support. 

Chris’s aim was to make sure cancer patients would no longer have to navigate the many different areas of cancer care by themselves. His vision was realised in 2013 when Chris O’Brien Lifehouse cancer treatment centre opened to outpatients.

While the centre doesn’t look or feel like a traditional hospital, the real differentiating qualities of the building lie beyond its aesthetics.

Advanced hardware

Chief Executive Officer Eileen Hannagan explains: “Surgeons, oncologists, psychiatrists, nurses and researchers all work under one roof. This allows a more co-ordinated approach to treatment. Returning to the same place to see the same doctors, nurses and staff is a great comfort to our patients.”

The extensive use of glass throughout the building was also a considered decision.

“Patients told us that every time they come across a wall or a closed door it creates fear - fear of the unknown ... That’s why you see so much glass. The premise behind this is that there’s nothing to hide, and this helps alleviate fear,” Eileen says.

Although Chris O’Brien Lifehouse uses some of the most advanced surgical hardware in the world, there is another type of innovation taking place that is less apparent.

Meaningful support

“We have reallt focused on creating a culture that supports and gives permission to a different type of thinking in healthcare. Two young registrars at the hospital, for example, spoke to us a couple of years ago about an app they wanted to develop an app to support patients during their cancer journey. We worked beside them every step of the way to ensure they got it off the ground. CancerAid is today providing meaningful support for patients across the world,” Eileen says.

“Our approach to cancer treatment will always be science based but it’s a question of being open to new ideas so we can fully discover where the science can take us.”

Things you should know: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. The CommBank Business Insights Report: — Healthcare is based on a sub-set of a wide-ranging quantitative survey of 2,195 business owners, decision makers and managers. This subset comprises responses from 149 businesses within the Healthcare sector. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank by DBM Consultants between August and September 2016, with further analysis by the Commonwealth Bank. Participants were drawn from businesses across Australia with an annual turnover of over $500,000 and at least two employees. The survey was designed to benchmark the innovation performance of each business, identifying the key motivations and drivers influencing their performance, and highlighting best practice. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of this report’s compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this report. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian credit licence 234945.