Why Our People Are Our Future
At Kieser the most important people to us are our team. Without our Physios, EPs and Exercise Scientists we would never be able to achieve our mission of building a stronger Australia. Read this article from the Australian Physiotherapy Association to find out more about how we built our company around our core values of ‘Growing Teams, Growing People’ and ‘It’s all about Outcomes'.
"With over 130 facilities throughout Europe and now 13 centres in Australia, Kieser has been regarded as an exciting concept in the Australian healthcare sector. APA member Tim Dettman explains the evolution of Kieser Australia to Skye Mitchell."
Words taken from the Australian Physiotherapy Association magazine, InMotion. Link to full article here
"Established in Melbourne in 2006, Kieser Australia is a network of integrated physiotherapy, rehabilitation and strength training centres based on Swiss founder Werner Kieser’s concept and the core principle of ‘strength for health’. Tim Dettmann worked at Kieser Training during his university studies and returned two years after graduating. ‘I took what I thought was a short-term casual job. Kieser was the perfect job for me while studying physiotherapy at university, and I learnt a lot about exercise, communication and strategies to help clients with compliance,’ he says.
Tim become a partner in 2011 and says that the diversity of the partnership is one of the keys to Kieser’s success and growth. Three out of of the six partners are physiotherapists and the other three partners bring a wealth of commercial experience from outside allied health.
‘We have built our business seeking to address some of the difficulties and challenges in the health industry, challenges that many physios will relate to...clinically, we wanted to get the best possible outcomes, and the research quickly told us we needed a strength training gym. For patients who are baby boomers, they wanted higher qualified guidance, so the gym made sense.’
Kieser, in its Swiss design, is not your typical gym. ‘It offers a clinical, non-intimidating atmosphere that is ideally suited for our baby boomer demographic who might otherwise avoid the gym. There’s no music, no mirrors, no singlets. Combine this with safe equipment and the patients look forward to training safely, and happily, for the long term,’ Tim says.
Tim and the team agree that the most important people in the business are the team members—this is underpinned by the belief that a well looked after team member will take the best possible care of their clients. Tim says they have a wellness program that includes mental health support and a winter party where three international trips are awarded to those who live the Kieser values. ‘We also have a financial reward for our team when they have been with us for five years and I’m proud to say that we have more and more team members every year.’
‘We have all seen, and many of us experienced, that the career span of a physio can be too short, for a multitude of reasons, therefore we have made changes to facilitate longevity. We do everything we can to ensure they enjoy their paid annual leave with friends and family,’ Tim says. ‘Kieser continues to grow and we think that a breadth of skills is required. Kieser are currently, financially and with flexible hours, supporting staff through master’s degrees in sports and musculoskeletal programs, but also in business. We do this because we believe a sound business model and a strong marketing plan allows our physios the best opportunity to get patient outcomes. A simple example of this is that our initial appointments are all 60 minutes.’
‘We have also sought to build an industry leading professional development program, which is something we are really proud of and is now regularly attended by over 100 team members. We have over 40 team members in our leadership program and now five of our Kieser centres have equity partners. This is an opportunity for our team to grow in their careers in the long term, but also minimise the financial risk of being a first timer into business by partnering with a supporting team with ever increasing experience.’
Perhaps most importantly, Tim has seen the changing landscape of the Australian healthcare system. As the APA’s InPractice 2025 report predicts, the industry needs to look at wellness and prevention as much as treatment. ‘We have lived this philosophy since 2010 and now we are starting to see some opportunities,’ Tim says. ‘In 2018, we partnered with private health insurer GMHBA in a pilot program for people suffering with osteoarthritis. The aim of this program is to help them battle this chronic disease through exercise and prevent, delay or prepare for hip or knee replacement. Perhaps this is the way of the future of physiotherapy. Perhaps not, but regardless we are keen to work with the private health insurance industry and the government to find mutual goals between us—them and our patients.’
The team has identified that digital technology is changing measurement of patient outcomes. A time is coming when a physiotherapist’s ‘subjective feeling’ that patients are getting better will not be enough, and insurers, governments and even patients will all increasingly want supporting data. As a result, Kieser has invested heavily in their own proprietary software that is used to collect and store patient outcomes on a daily basis. Tim elaborates: ‘we aim to record baseline measures for all patients, whether it be in strength using our Kieser equipment, movement using DorsaVi sensors or by electronically capturing an Oswestry [low back pain scale] for a low back pain client. This data will complement university research, but also be particularly useful as it comes from the front line in a commercial environment.
‘We feel this data needs to come from private practice just as much as it does the research lab and hospital environments, and our IT platform will allow us to efficiently collect, analyse and report on our patient outcomes,’ he says.
Tim believes that physiotherapy is no longer just about pain, and building a strong career path for Kieser employees is just as important as building a stronger, more resilient Australian population. ‘What do I think physios would be interested in hearing? Probably that we didn’t always get it right, and we still don’t think we have! One of our guiding values is “growing teams, growing people”, so if making a mistake helps you to grow, then sometimes that is what is required. Only by surrounding ourselves with good people and investing into them has our business been able to grow. This attitude won’t change in the future."
Article originally published in the October 2018 edition of the Australian Physiotherapy Association magazine, InMotion.