Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

GenesisCare Founder Urges Students to ‘Have a Go’

Dr Dan Collins

Mr Dan Collins, the founder of one of Australia’s leading health care providers, GenesisCare, which focuses on facilities and services provision for patients suffering with cancer and cardiovascular disease, urged Warrane’s residents to step out and “have a go” at achieving great things.

“What is the worst that can happen if you have a go?” he said. “Maybe your pride will be damaged if you fall short, but you will regroup and try again. I see a lot of fear of failure and fear of things that don’t exist. You have nothing to lose.”

Dan, speaking at Warrane College on Wednesday, 2 May 2012, explained that as a young man he had been forging a successful career in equity markets when he had two career-changing moments. One happened when a senior media executive had questioned what he was doing with his life…

“He was right,” Dan said. “I realised I was not really helping anyone. What I was doing was superficial and shallow.”

He said that not long after that he had been completing a large transaction in the financial markets when he learnt that his father had died. He had not been impressed with his father’s medical care, including the duplication, waster and how different service providers couldn’t effectively co-ordinate at critical moments. From this experience he could see that the health care system was in obvious need of improvement.

“I was 26, with no family money and I didn’t own a house or a car,” he said. “But I decided I was going to try to build a better health-care service.” Dan said he left his job and began by spending 18 months mapping out Australia’s health care system and then he launched into establishing something better. He said when doing something like that it was important to “stick to your purpose”.

“You have to renew what you are doing and keep driving through,” he said. “People around you will try to limit you and give you one hundred reasons why you can’t do what you want to do, but you have to think about how you can do it.”

Seven years ago, the organisation started with one high quality cardiology practice with 7 physicians based out of the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane. His aim was not to get big, but to “get one place right”. Now, at the age of 37, he has cardiology and cancer practices all over the country, employing over 1000 health professionals and support staff including more than 100 physicians.

He said in Australian one-in-three people get cancer and of those a third did not receive the radiation therapy they needed. In the public system it could take eight weeks for them to see a specialist and another four or five weeks before they received treatment. Over that time their condition could worsen exponentially.

In speaking about patients needs who have acute illness and ensuring that the right quality of care is delivered, Dan commented that “access and speed are critical. “

GenesisCare had improved outcomes, service standards and efficiency so dramatically that it was now being called on to take over some functions previously performed by the public system.

Although Genesis Care had improved patient care standards for some public health systems, it had also been able to achieve this at a lower cost and while increasing patient access not previously available.

He put the organisation’s success down to two things: a “patient-centred ethos” and the empowerment of local managers and doctor leaders at each of its state based practice groups to make the right decisions around maintaining quality care and service.

[Warrane College offers more than just accommodation to students at UNSW: Details of other guest speakers are available here]