Practices in Focus
Tristar Medical (Tristar) was established in 2003, as a single doctor practice in Warracknabeal, Victoria. The founder and CEO, Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh (pictured below), had a dream to provide services to Australians in rural and remote Australia after working locally for four years and recognised a shortage of quality health care services.
Fifteen years later, Tristar is one of the largest health service providers in Australia, with almost 60 AGPAL accredited clinics, across five of the seven Australian states and territories. Tristar’s goal is to ensure that high quality, accessible and affordable medical services are available to regional and rural communities, with a mission that ensures the patient is always the priority. This is supported with most of the clinics offering 100% bulk billing services so that patients aren’t facing out-of-pocket expenses.
Tristar offers services above and beyond traditional general practice, across areas such as preventative and occupational health and assessments, skin checks, men’s and women’s health, chronic disease management, mental health, minor surgical procedures and allied health. With an innovative organisation structure and business model, Tristar has clinical teams from numerous backgrounds with general practitioners who have been trained in Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. Patients then have their choice of doctor based on experiences and expertise, which offers a greater level of personal service to their clients.
We spoke with Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh, CEO, to find out more about Tristar as a corporate organisation, and how they tackle the task of accreditation for their clinics.
AGPAL Team: With a large workforce, Tristar provide a range of training opportunities, could you explain what is offered to support professional development?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: Tristar’s training opportunities vary from a number of differing programs and courses, and are designed for the entire spectrum of Tristar’s staff. To ensure we are continuously enhancing our workforce’s knowledge and skills we pay for educational degrees for our staff, comprising all team members including receptionists, nurses, doctors and management. Dependent on need, training offerings vary from clinical administration to clinician verification courses. Doctors coming in from overseas receive extensive training from the CEO prior to sitting exams.
AGPAL Team: What services do Tristar offer in terms of mental health support for rural and remote Australians?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: Tristar created a mental health department in 2010 to address the issue of a lack of support for those in rural and remote locations in need of assistance with mental health issues. The dedicated mental health department consists of in-house psychiatrists, psychologists and credentialed mental health nurses who can help with any mental illnesses. Additionally, our clinic nurses and doctors are skilled in providing mental health related advice, our reception staff are trained in dealing with immediate mental health issues as a first point of contact and we offer telehealth services to those unable to attend face-to-face appointments with allied health professionals.
AGPAL Team: With a promise of high quality care, what does AGPAL accreditation against the RACGP Standards mean to Tristar and its clinics?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: AGPAL accreditation against the RACGP Standards is part of the daily operation for all Tristar staff. It allows us to formally review what we do every day. We provide continuous quality improvement training to all doctors and nurses, as our highly-skilled doctors and staff are empowered to train and pass on their knowledge to other staff.
AGPAL Team: Is there anything you have learned from undergoing accreditation that has helped to identify or offer further areas for improvement?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: Undergoing accreditation has provided Tristar the opportunity to continuously learn and grow. With each edition of the Standards we understand that there is always something more we can be doing with continuous quality improvement, to ensure our patients have a smooth and efficient experience in our clinics.
AGPAL Team: As a multi-site corporate AGPAL client, what approach do you undertake when preparing for accreditation?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: When preparing for accreditation we support each clinic via our centralised head office with regards to the organisational side of the business, this enables the doctors to focus on the patient and provide high quality service. We approach each clinic and provide them with adequate support so the staff feel confident when it comes time for
the on-site accreditation survey. As an organisation, our medical practitioners and head office rely greatly on the support from our AGPAL Client Liaison Officers.
AGPAL Team: Based on your accreditation experiences, how has AGPAL supported your team throughout the accreditation process?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: AGPAL time and time again has proven to be of significant value in their support and guidance to Tristar in achieving accreditation against the set Standards. No question from our organisation is ever too big or too small.
AGPAL Team: Can you offer any advice for other corporate organisations when preparing for accreditation?
Dr. Khaled El-Sheikh: Don’t view the RACGP Standards and AGPAL as a government body to fear, but as a checkpoint that can be used to ensure that not only you, but all other corporations and practices in the industry are doing their absolute best for their patients.
All patients who require treatment are welcomed with open arms at any Tristar Medical Clinic across Australia. It is with the support that AGPAL provides to our staff and doctors, that Tristar is able to provide healthcare of the highest quality.