MedTalks: Dr Stephen Ayre, Chief Executive Metro South Health

Professor Robyn Ward recently sat down with newly appointed Metro South CEO, Dr Stephen Ayre. The pair discussed Stephen’s experience as a medical administrator and the PA Hospital’s role as Australia’s first digital hospital.

After graduating from Medicine at UQ’s School of Medicine nearly four decades ago, Dr Stephen Ayre launched his career in General Practice on the Sunshine Coast. That initial experience opened his eyes to the bigger healthcare picture and ultimately steered him down the path of medical administration.

“I enjoyed the patient interaction in General Practice, very much, but felt frustrated in a bigger picture sense,” Dr Ayre said

“That's why I went back into the hospital system and also why I did my medical administration training.

“You're able to actually influence the health outcomes of a whole group of patients and communities rather than just the individual.”

In July, Stephen took up his post as the Chief Executive of Metro South Health, home to Australia’s first ‘digital’ hospital, the Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital.

The PA transitioned to a fully electronic medical record system in 2015, providing doctors and allied health staff with the tools to document and access them online.

Digital patient monitoring devices automatically upload vital signs and observations to secure electronic medical records.

According to Dr Ayre, current UQ medical students coming through Metro South have their eyes opened to the future of healthcare.

“We don't have musty old charts that you have to try and sift through - we’re now able to conduct searches on all of our medical records,” he said.

“I remember trying to find information on patients with 10-20 volumes of medical history and when you're trying to go back and look at that, it's a real challenge.”

“I think for the students who are the future leaders of healthcare, the digital record access is going to be a key tool.”

Dr Ayre is already planning to roll the digital record out to other Metro South hospitals -  Logan, Redland and QEII - in the next 12 months.

As leader of Metro South and the custodian of Australia’s first digital tertiary hospital, Dr Ayre is already planning to roll the digital record out to other Metro South hospitals -  Logan, Redland and QEII - in the next 12 months.

He said a further step is to rethink the way that medicine is practiced in hospitals across Australia

“Nobody likes to be in hospital; people would much prefer to be at home, and we will be able to do that much more readily for our patients.”

“Patients may not need to come into hospital except for procedures and components of care that can't be provided in other environments - I think it's going to be a very exciting time for future health care workers.”

Watch the full interview with Dr Stephen Ayre and Professor Robyn Ward above or listen to the Podcast below.


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