Strategic Planning with Vanessa Janissen

With a career in health and aged care spanning more than 20 years, the Governing for Reform in Aged Care team was delighted to catch up with Vanessa Janissen, National Director Strategy and Service Development for Calvary Health Care.

Following the recent Governing for Reform in Aged Care webinar on Strategic Planning: Putting Humans at the Centre of which she was a panellist, Vanessa sat down with the team to answer their burning questions on strategic planning in the aged care sector, customer expectations and delivering high quality and safe care in challenging environments.

Let’s see what she had to say…

Has moving from State Government to the private sector changed the way you approach strategic planning? If so, in what ways?

The principles remain the same; to think about the changing needs of our communities, the emerging trends, and how to position your organisation to best serve them into the future. The public sector is a great training ground because you are constantly challenged to innovate and implement change across large and diverse healthcare systems. It’s similarly important in the private sector to see how your organisation and its services augment the community and the broader healthcare offerings. What the private sector allows is some additional agility to innovate.

Data plays a crucial role in both organisational and operational strategy and decision making. How do you suggest providers can better understand and integrate data in a meaningful way to support their strategy and planning activities?

All roads lead to data and all decisions should be informed by good data. The key is how to collate and organise it to be meaningful and digestible. In Calvary, we’ve established our Data Hub as a one-stop shop with dashboards, reports, educational materials and resources, as part of our data strategy that is our single source of truth. We have invested in training our managers on how to use the data hub in their roles, including how to assess a service’s performance and benchmark against like-for-like sites and industry standards. Our Performance & Analytics team aims to empower decision making with insights to improve health outcomes and business operations and to sustain growth over the long term.

Noting the recent changes in aged care regulation, what approaches do you recommend to Providers seeking to meet current requirements whilst grappling with workforce shortages and evolving customer expectations?

Our patients, residents and clients are at the centre of our decision making. Adapting to changes in regulations is a given, but ensuring we don’t lose that context and have unintended consequences for the people we care for is critical. To adapt to the changing landscape of health and ageing, combined with policy changes and funding models, Calvary recognises the need to continually innovate service delivery and proactively respond to the needs of those we care for. Our strategy prioritises service integration, responding directly to the health consumer’s desire for holistic care that supports them across various environments and their health needs. This is directly aligned to our mission to serve our communities across all stages of life with an integrated care system that delivers modern and high-quality services. To be able to grow, and provide care for an increasing number of people, Calvary is enhancing our service delivery with access to pathways that help to generate more integrated services. This includes building linkages between our existing services, extending access through virtual care, enhancing the mobility and development of staff across services, and investing in new technology that helps us understand the care needs of our patients, residents, clients and allows staff to deliver that at top of scope. As a national healthcare provider across hospitals, residential aged care, community and virtual care, we have an opportunity to be a microcosm of a health system. But smaller organisations can achieve the same by thinking about who they can partner with locally that allows them to deliver against the policy change and enhance the care offerings for their residents.

To hear more from Vanessa Janissen, enrol in the Governing for Reform Program today and listen to the Strategic Planning: Putting Humans at the Centre webinar: Webinar (