MedLab Pathology's parent company, Sonic Healthcare Ltd., is an Australian clinical diagnostic organisation. Sonic Healthcare is now the largest laboratory company in both Europe and Australasia and the 3rd  largest in the USA. Sonic operates in 8 countries, spanning three continents and employs over 23,000 people. Sonic offers pathology services to medical practitioners, hospitals and community medicine in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, Germany, UK and the USA. The growth of Sonic Healthcare has been achieved through a combination of carefully chosen acquisitions and strong organic growth and its success is undoubtedly the result of the hard work and consistent delivery of excellent services by our staff. Sonic Healthcare is committed to personalised service, technical excellence and decentralised, medically-focussed leadership.


Sonic Healthcare differs from other companies in many ways...  

One major and defining difference is our corporate culture. We believe that healthcare is not 'just another industry'.  What we do is of vital personal importance to individuals - and to those close to them.  Achieving and maintaining excellence in healthcare demands an all-pervading, supportive culture.  In order to protect ours, we distilled and then formally documented it. It is encapsulated in our  Sonic Healthcare Core Values and  Sonic Healthcare Foundation Principles .  We invest a great deal in nurturing our culture internally, across the entire organisation, for the ongoing benefit of our customers -as well as ourselves.


Sonic Healthcare Core Values

In early 2000, a Sonic Healthcare planning weekend was held to discuss future strategies for the rapidly growing company and to identify ways of assimilating the Sonic practices in spite of their geographical spread. A team was set up to define and establish the Sonic Healthcare Core Values.  Its brief was to consult widely throughout all levels of the practices of Sonic Healthcare and, through an inclusive process, to distil the essence of the values and cultures of the practices into one defining document. These Values have been embraced enthusiastically as a uniting code of conduct by Sonic Healthcare people. They are the yardstick by which each of us measures our interactions with our work colleagues and our customers, and our performance in our various duties.


Sonic Healthcare's Values


Sonic Healthcare Foundation Principles

In October 2001, Sonic Healthcare's Managing Director convened a two day meeting with the CEOs of all Sonic's medical diagnostic subsidiaries, together with a small group of its corporate executives. The express intention of this gathering was to collaborate on - and then document - Sonic Healthcare's underlying identity and ratify a set of associated principles, for the future strategic benefit of the company.


With the Sonic Healthcare Core Values already well established within the company as an internal code of behaviour for all Sonic's staff, it was a logical and appropriate progression to formalise the essential elements which characterised Sonic's relationships with its external stakeholders - clinicians, patients and others.


There was unanimous agreement that the overriding attribute responsible for Sonic Healthcare's existing and future pre-eminent market position was its adherence to the concept of "Medical Leadership" in management and day-to-day operations. It was acknowledged that pathologists, radiologists, technicians and others with extensive first-hand experience of the laboratory and radiology professions were those best suited for leadership roles in Sonic's businesses. Moreover, it was also recognised that, as a consequence of its medical leadership philosophy to date, Sonic had already evolved into a special and somewhat unique organisation, one which resonated deeply with referring doctors, patients, hospital personnel and others with whom we came into contact. It was self-evident to the assembled group that this model was also ideally suited to, if not essential for, the provision of services  given the vital medical nature of our business. In essence, Sonic's medical leadership philosophy provides the vital ingredients necessary for good medical practice.


It was agreed that within the context of Sonic's embedded federation-of-practices model, each Sonic subsidiary would operate as a "Specialist Medical Diagnostic Practice", so that the concept of medical leadership would be allowed to flourish at local practice level and in the wider context of the expanding group as a whole. Moreover, it was agreed that, because of its importance to Sonic's customers and to  its own future, the specific attributes comprising the medical leadership model would need to be audited on a regular basis, so that this corporate trait would not become diluted.


The Sonic leadership group identified four essential components underpinning Sonic Healthcare's medical philosophy. These are now known as the "four pillars" of the Sonic Healthcare Foundation Principles and are all significantly influenced by the overarching concept of medical leadership itself.


The four Foundation Principles, in the setting of a medical leadership environment, are designed to provide all of Sonic's staff with essential and fundamental guidelines to the interaction between ourselves and our external customers, principally doctors and patients. The group endorsed the elegantly simple concept that our reputation would, and should, arise from our natural behaviour towards our customers.


The Foundation Principles reflect the medical essence of Sonic Healthcare.  They express features which are specifically appropriate for a healthcare company and which we believe are equally important to our customers. They are


•    technical excellence in our medical testing and reporting,

•    the showcasing and sharing of our highly specialised medical knowledge,

•    providing our patients with the best possible service and

•    delivering localised and personalised services to our referring doctors.


Medical Practice Medical Leadership


 Since the meeting in 2001, the Sonic Healthcare Foundation Principles have continued to exert a major influence on the development of Sonic Healthcare and how it and each of its operating practices are viewed by referring doctors and patients.


The Foundation Principles, together with the Sonic Core Values and the  unique federation model are now the major determinants of Sonic Healthcare as a company. They have been instrumental in Sonic Healthcare's expansion into the UK, Europe and the USA, where like-minded diagnostic companies have elected to join with Sonic to promote a medically-oriented and profession-based operation on the global stage.