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Understanding Innovation in the Healthcare Sciences

What role does innovation play in the healthcare sciences? How can you innovate in your organisation? Find out with this course.

445 enrolled on this course

Course image for Understanding Innovation in the Healthcare Sciences
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Explore innovation in the healthcare sciences

The word ‘innovation’ is used a lot in today’s world - but what does it actually mean when it comes to the healthcare sciences?

On this course you will attempt to answer that question, learning about the emerging field of ‘improvement science’ and discovering how improvement science methods can help healthcare scientists identify opportunities for innovation.

You will also learn about the practical side of innovation like creating business cases, project reports and evaluating and disseminating your findings.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 21 seconds Hello, my name is Phil Padfield, and I’m the Director of the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education. Innovation is the process of generating, and then applying, new ideas and ways of working. It is vital if health services are going to rise to the challenge of meeting the healthcare needs of the 21st century. Innovation will lead to greater advancements in preventative healthcare, address health inequalities, improve methods of diagnosis and treatment, and will also allow healthcare professionals to provide a high-quality service that is also cost-effective. Healthcare scientists use their specialist scientific knowledge and skills to inform over 80% of patient diagnoses.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds They are in a unique position to undertake scientific research within their own clinical setting and identify, develop, and deliver innovative solutions that are needed to address the current and future healthcare needs. The Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education, through Manchester Metropolitan University, have developed this course especially for healthcare science staff working within the National Health Service in the UK. You may have an innovation in mind already, or are keen to improve your own healthcare service. But, before you set off developing a project, join this four-week course and discover the essential knowledge and tools

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds that will help you to: First, define what makes your idea innovative and important, thereby increasing the likelihood of its buy-in from key stakeholders and decision makers; Second, measure and review your current service to assist you in highlighting the impact that your innovation has had; Third, develop an effective plan, so that your approach is considered and organised; Fourth, test your innovation, thereby refining it to make further improvements; and finally, successfully communicate the outcomes of your project and encourage its wider adoption Our experienced healthcare scientists will give you an insight into existing innovations within the National Health Service.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds These case studies will provide real-life examples of how innovation projects are managed in the NHS, including the key challenges that need to be overcome. Throughout the course, you have the opportunity to participate in our discussions and share your ideas with like-minded healthcare professionals from across the world. Learn how you can make a difference to your healthcare service by joining our course, Understanding Innovation in the Healthcare Sciences.

What topics will you cover?

  • Identifying innovation and service improvement
  • Obtaining support and funding for innovation and service improvement projects
  • Measuring the performance of your service
  • Planning, implementing and evaluating projects
  • Spreading the adoption of innovation and service improvement projects

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Assess what constitutes an innovation in healthcare science and identify areas for innovation in clinical service.
  • Design an innovation project proposal, including identifying sources of support and communication with stakeholders.
  • Reflect on and then apply the appropriate tools and techniques for project planning.
  • Develop a critical awareness of the steps involved in launching and evaluating an innovation project, including dissemination and communication strategies.

Who is the course for?

This course has been created especially for healthcare scientists. However, the fundamental principles of identifying, planning, evaluating and disseminating service improvement and innovation projects will be applicable to all healthcare professionals.

Who will you learn with?

Phil Padfield is the Associate Dean for Postgraduate Taught Education in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at the University of Manchester. He is also the Director of the Manchester Academy

Garry McDowell is a Reader in Clinical Science at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has a background as a Clinical Biochemist. Garry is also an experienced clinical researcher.

Carol Ainley is Lead for Medical and Life Science Development at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has a background in healthcare science, having worked as a biomedical scientist across the UK.

I work for the Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education and support their Research and Innovation Project which develops initiatives to expand innovation in the healthcare sciences.

Who developed the course?

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Met University has a driving ambition to discover and disseminate knowledge and make higher education as accessible and beneficial to all those with the passion and ability to succeed.

The University of Manchester

From splitting the atom to giving the world graphene, The University of Manchester has a history of world firsts and brilliant discoveries.


The Manchester Academy for Healthcare Scientist Education has developed this course as part of a larger project to increase the research and innovation capability of the healthcare science workforce.

Endorsers and supporters

endorsed by

NHS England

funded by

The Open University

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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