Five minutes with Justin Ragenovich, founder of Medical Directions
In light of last week's merger announcement of Medical Directions joining The Ochre Group, we thought it an opportune time to catch up with Justin Ragenovich. Justin is the founder and Business Executive of Australia's premier providers of medical workforce solutions, Medical Directions, and brings over 26 years of dedication to the health service delivery sector.
What drives you and what’s the secret to balancing the specific needs of clients with the career aspirations of doctors?
Health service delivery is a very challenging space and equally as rewarding. This is particularly so in rural environments where we often learn to do more with less. Innovation is often spawned under such conditions and creating better models of care is what continues to drive me today. Building relationships that last the distance and understanding the subtleties of every community we work with, is paramount. The essential partnership between our clients and doctors has been pivotal in developing better, more sustainable models for medical service delivery.
Let's rewind... tell us a bit about your childhood?
I was fortunate to grow up in Broken Hill, NSW, where we had an abundance of space and plenty of freedom to explore it. Sport largely dominated our weekends with footy, cricket, and basketball. Trips to Menindee Lakes took pride of place, where we would fish and catch yabbies with friends.
Where did you study and what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare?
I studied Human Resource Management, and as a result, started my career in health working in this field. I subsequently moved into service operations a few years later and my passion for health service management grew from there.
What medical service model are you most proud of?
There are many models and partnerships that we are very proud of—to choose one is difficult. We essentially get invited to develop models where towns are experiencing inconsistency with their medical resources, so working with our clients to provide reliable solutions for the community is very rewarding. You never forget your first, and Tenterfield always holds a special place in our journey.
What are the main challenges in coming up with unique and innovative solutions? How do you overcome them?
Each location has its particular nuances that ultimately inform the model’s development. The challenge is often to redesign the types and pattern of resources to meet changing community demands and their access to services. The ‘country GP’ who managed their rooms and juggled the responsibility of the hospital 365 days a year is no longer. Working together with the array of service providers in a community is essential in determining the need and the service model. We have always seen our service as being complimentary, therefore a partner in the true sense.
Why are there so many health inequalities for rural-based populations when compared with metropolitan centres?
Attracting health professionals to work rurally is largely challenging, therefore community access to services in the bush is generally more difficult. Consequently, the health and well-being of rural communities tend to be poorer. At the core of this tends to be community-based rural general practice where business models have changed significantly.
GPs want to work in larger practices with less onerous time commitments than the smaller practices we are all accustomed to in the bush. This is understandable and it makes for better practice and sustainability, however, the sector hasn’t necessarily been nimble or creative enough to facilitate this shift. More resources need to be put into community-based services to keep people well in rural locations—maintenance is cheaper than repairs!
Why did Medical Directions want to join forces with The Ochre Group?
The more we explored the opportunity to work together, the more apparent the synergies between the two organisations became. We both share a long history and commitment to improving medical service delivery and access to regional communities. It's genuinely exciting... we are already in the process of consolidating services and building new opportunities together.
The Medical Directions team with be better resourced with Ochre's experience regarding medical recruitment, corporate governance around compliance and quality, medical leadership and day-to-day service in human resources and finance. Our network of loyal doctors will get more dedicated time from our team regarding service to hospitals and the environments in which they work.
What keeps you calm when you are not working?
I cherish being out in my boat fishing and then cooking the catch for family and friends—I have a passion for cooking all kinds of seafood ...with a cheeky Clare Valley Riesling of course!
If you had some words of wisdom for your 20-year-old self, what would they be?
Take more time to listen to those with lived life experiences. A surgeon once said in my presence to his registrar: "you have two ears and one mouth for a reason and you need to understand the purpose of that ratio". Never forgot it.
What are your goals for the rest of 2022?
Watch Carlton win their 17th AFL Premiership.
Thank you so much Justin for talking with us and welcome to the team. We’re lucky to have you on board!
We'll continue our conversations with the team at Medical Directions over the coming weeks, and their aspirations post-merger, when we have a chat with Barrie Hinton, Operations Manager.
If you would like to know more about how Medical Directions develop and operate innovative medical workforce service models, contact Barrie Hinton on 0412 774 817 or [email protected]