The Virtus Health Board of Directors have a clear vision for our future. We want to support our patients with a highly individualised level of care by providing the most convenient network of local fertility clinics, which offer the most comprehensive range of treatments and services, and the most advanced laboratory technologies.
Our organisational model is unique, and is regarded as one of the most successful and largest private collaborations of specialist doctors in the world. It allows our doctors to have control and ownership of their practice supported by a professional management framework so they can focus totally on providing the best possible patient outcomes and personal care.
The Virtus Health Story
In July 2002, IVFAustralia was formed by four leading Sydney based IVF clinics coming together. The clinicians saw a growing need amongst their patients for all medical procedures, from diagnostics to day surgery, to be provided in one convenient place, and for high quality fertility services to be available to them in the city, metropolitan and rural areas.
Quadrant Private Equity, building on its extensive background in health, invested in IVFAustralia in April 2008 and a partnership with Melbourne IVF was formed shortly after in November 2008. This partnership provided IVFAustralia with access to world-class PGD (genetic testing on embryos for chromosomal abnormalities) technology and techniques, and gave Melbourne IVF access to expertise in developing pathology, andrology and day surgery services internally for its patients. This vertical integration strategy has since been expanded across the network nationally.
As our partnerships expanded, the Group recognised the need to control the quality and standards of service delivery for our patients in other associated services related to their infertility care. As a result, we’ve continued to invest in our specialist day hospitals, diagnostics and advanced sciences, creating a seamless, convenient service for our patients.
"We want to care for each of our patients every step of the way so there are no weak links in the chain", Sue Channon, CEO, Virtus Health.
In October 2009, the network expanded again when Queensland Fertility Group (QFG) joined us. They chose to join our group because we had demonstrated such a successful integration between IVFAustralia and Melbourne IVF. As a world leader in cytogenetics, QFG added another important scientific service to the group, and their experience in coordinating geographically disperse clinics throughout Queensland is now being translated across the rest of the Group. Hunter IVF joined us in March 2011, allowing us to provide services to patients in Newcastle and the surrounding region, and Gold Coast Fertility Group joined our Queensland network in August 2011.
To continue to realise the growth potential of Virtus Health the organisation underwent a successful public listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in June 2013 - the world’s first fertility provider to achieve such significant milestone.
Virtus Health’s strategy is to continue to grow its fertility network clinic, while maintaining its existing high quality of patient care. International expansion is a key component of this strategy.
In May 2014 the first international acquisition has seen Ireland’s leading fertility clinic Sims IVF join Virtus Health and the organisation has announced plans to build a greenfield fertility clinic in Singapore by the end of 2014 based on the successful Virtus Health model of care.
Why is the Virtus Health model so successful?
We recognise that clinical independence is vital for the highest level of patient care. Our patients are on a unique journey, where the outcome is unpredictable. By supporting our doctors’ clinical practice we can ensure every patient receives the best possible personal experience throughout their treatment with us.
Our professional business and health care management team provides the framework to support our doctors and their practice, taking care of staffing and other contemporary management issues, marketing, financial management and facilities, so doctors can focus solely on their patients. The management team works closely with the clinical team to establish the services needed to support our patients' needs, to develop partnerships in other geographic locations, and to ensure we continue to treat to world best practice standards.
With every decision we make, we think first about the how we can improve patient care and outcomes, and how it will be translated into action within the Group. Every person’s contribution is encouraged, valued and respected no matter what their role.
Fertility treatment in Australia
Over 3% of all Australian births are now thanks to IVF treatment – that’s one child in every classroom of 30. In fact, one in six couples will have trouble conceiving.
Australians are fortunate to have access to well-funded fertility services, with a large portion of treatment costs covered by Medicare. Australian fertility research is also highly regarded around the world, with many major breakthroughs happening in Australia. As a result, we have one of the safest fertility treatment systems in the world, with the highest single embryo transfer success rate. This has proven to be the safest procedure for mother and child.
The increase in the average age of mothers giving birth (from 27 in 1973 to 31 in 2009) means that there is growing demand for treatment. And while most countries have small individual practices or provide IVF treatment within their general health services, Australia has a well-defined specialist sector that continues to invest in advanced treatment technology.
Virtus Health is well positioned to meet the needs of the Australian community, having developed a fully integrated medical network focused on patient care and outcomes. Because of our highly regarded reputation we are often approached by clinics overseas looking for ways that we can support them, applying our renowned best-practice treatment protocols and training, and our knowledge in operational efficiency in other countries. This will be the next area of focus for Virtus Health.