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This content is taken from the The University of Warwick & Monash University's online course, Leadership for Healthcare Improvement and Innovation. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWelcome to this programme developed here at Warwick Business School. My name is Bernard Crump. I'm a professor of practice here at Warwick, and I'm now the lead educator for this programme.

Skip to 0 minutes and 21 secondsI'm a doctor and spent most of my career working in the NHS in England, as a clinician, a specialist in public health, and as a chief executive.

Skip to 0 minutes and 33 secondsFor many years I've been involved in the themes we cover in this programme: in how health services are led to meet the challenges they face; in how services to patients can be continually improved so services are safer, lead to better outcomes and are delivered in ways that put patients at the centre of things and, of course, they're cost effective.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsAs I speak today, health services across the globe are responding to the biggest challenge they've faced in my professional lifetime.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsThe COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 will influence our health services, our economies and our societies for many years to come. We're witnessing tragic loss of life and profound changes to our normal daily routines. Health and care workers and many others whose work is essential to our existence have been putting themselves selflessly in harm's way and striving to manage a complex new threat to health at a scale that we may have feared, but we've not experienced in living memory.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 secondsThis response has included unparalleled speed of innovation, extraordinary degrees of collaboration between disciplines, sectors and countries. Changes have been made in days and weeks that would typically have taken years or decades. It's certain that the legacy of this period will be a change in the way we deliver health and care and the ways we lead our lives.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 secondsThe materials that go to make up this programme were developed before this pandemic began. They draw on insights developed over the last 20 years, rather than those of 2020, but their relevance is only heightened by recent events. And we believe this learning to be of value now and in the years to come as together we design the new normal, that will one day just be normal.

Skip to 2 minutes and 52 secondsSince the development of this course there've been also changes in personnel. Professor Kirkpatrick who led the development of this programme is now at the University of York and others of us have changed our role or our title. I will be responding to your comments and your reflections as you work through the six weeks of this programme.

Skip to 3 minutes and 14 secondsEnjoy the course. I'm sure you'll find it valuable.

Welcome to the course

A warm welcome to the ‘Leadership for healthcare improvement and innovation’ course from the University of Warwick

In the current global coronavirus pandemic, the importance of good healthcare leadership is never far from the news. This course was created before the onset of the pandemic, but the topics covered are highly relevant in the current context. Indeed, the question of how to deliver safer, higher quality and more efficient health services is always high on the policy agendas of most countries.

In recent times the field of Health Improvement (HI) science has developed to address often unwarranted variations in the quality and availability of care. Its aims are simple, to ensure: “better patient experience and outcomes achieved through changing provider behaviour and organisation through using a systematic change method and strategies”. Increasingly HI has become associated with more and more sophisticated tools and techniques to help clinicians and managers identify problems, analyse gaps in performance, plan interventions and measure their success.

Yet, despite the popularity of HI, the evidence base to demonstrate real and sustainable improvements in service quality has remained patchy. There are also significant problems of implementation, with busy clinicians often unable or even unwilling to adopt what they consider to be ‘off the shelf’ or programmatic solutions to the problems they face. This has led to calls for alternative approaches to HI which are grounded in an understanding of organisations as political systems and of intergroup relationships and dynamics.

In this course, we will address these concerns head-on to champion this more inclusive approach towards healthcare improvement. To do so, we draw on a unique combination of knowledge and expertise arising from the Monash Warwick Alliance. Specifically, this partnership draws on the academic disciplines of management and implementation sciences, with contributions from the Business and Medical Schools of Warwick University and from the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation

These departments and universities have worked closely together in a unique partnership to promote impactful research through the West Midlands Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC), funded by the National Institute for Health Research, with similar collaborations in Australia. We will also be strongly international in focus, drawing on wider networks to include case studies in healthcare improvement from around the world, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Italy and China.

What will we study?

Together, in the weeks that follow we’ll explore six general topics:

  • The nature and origins of healthcare improvement and the use of knowledge and information to inform change. Why has HI attained such importance in recent years? How can new knowledge be used to support quality improvement efforts?
  • The organisational context of healthcare improvement. Here we look at how the characteristics of organisations such as hospitals and the wider health systems in which they are embedded shape the possibilities for change.
  • The critical importance of leadership for implementing healthcare improvement. How can clinical leadership make a difference? How useful are alternative, shared or distributed forms of leadership?
  • Quality improvement tools and techniques and their implementation. We will explore initiatives such as lean systems, how these have been applied in different health settings and how the potential for successful change can be enhanced.
  • The role of clinical networks in supporting healthcare improvement. What are the different forms that networks can take and how do they contribute to the development and successful spread of new innovation in healthcare?
  • Patient involvement in healthcare improvement. How might patents contribute to service redesign through co-creation and co-production? What conditions support or hinder successful patent involvement?

Join in the conversation

We encourage you to discuss your interests, knowledge, and experiences with other learners throughout the course. You can leave a comment on each step, as well as in specific steps designed for a discussion activity.

When you’ve finished reading this and other steps on the course click the pink ‘Mark as Complete’ button (below) and then click Next to move on. Marking steps as complete will update your progress page and will help you to keep track of the steps that you’ve done on course the ‘To Do’ list.

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This video is from the free online course:

Leadership for Healthcare Improvement and Innovation

The University of Warwick