Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsIAN KIRKPATRICK: Welcome to the course. My name is Ian Kirkpatrick, a professor of healthcare improvement at the Warwick Business School.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsHELENA TEEDE: And my name's Helena Teede, professor in the faculty of medicine, nursing, and health sciences, Monash University in Australia. We all know we have major challenges facing our healthcare system. In OECD countries, we have a massive increase in health expenditure, with countries such as the United States up to 19% of the gross domestic product. This is clearly not sustainable and has to be addressed. We have hospital preventable errors causing death and morbidity for our patients that need to be addressed, and we also have major variation in healthcare in areas such as cancer and dementia. Clearly, this is a burning platform, and we need better improvement in our healthcare system.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 secondsIAN KIRKPATRICK: The discipline of healthcare improvement is essentially the science of how we continuously improve the quality of our health services to address some of those challenges, to improve the patient experience, to make services safer and more efficient. Many of the tools and techniques of healthcare improvements originate from private industry. So for example, Lean System, Six Sigma, Total Quality Management-- and those tools and techniques have been adopted widely around the world in healthcare systems.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsHELENA TEEDE: But as a clinician, we know this is much more about the way we apply these tools and these techniques, how we do healthcare improvement in a very complex and wicked environment, and this course will address the complexity and insight needed to do that.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 secondsIAN KIRKPATRICK: So this course is developed from a long-term collaboration between the universities of Warwick and Monash looking at the whole issue of healthcare improvement, and it builds on an interdisciplinary perspective. So we draw on the disciplines of management, organisation theory, and healthcare improvement sciences. So for example, from Warwick, you'll be hearing from Professor Graham Curry, from Gerry McGivern, and Professor Bernard Crump from the Warwick Medical School.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 secondsHELENA TEEDE: And from Monash University, from myself in the medical school and also Professors Amrik Sohal, Ian McLaughlin, and Professor Rick Iedema.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 secondsIAN KIRKPATRICK: You'll be hearing from practitioners from around the world-- so you'll hear, for example, from John Øvretveit from the Karolinska Institute, from Lynne Maher, previously at the NHS in England. The course will unfold over six weeks, and you'll look at topics introducing you to healthcare improvement, to the organisational context, leadership, quality improvement issues, networks, and last but not least, the issue of patient involvement and co-production in healthcare systems.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 secondsHELENA TEEDE: So we enthusiastically welcome you to our learning community, and we look forward to going on this journey with you for the next six weeks.

Welcome to the course

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

The question of how to deliver safer, higher quality and more efficient health services is high on the policy agendas of most countries. This has been informed by research that highlights significant failures and mishaps in how our health services are run.

In recent times the field of Health Improvement (HI) science has developed to address these 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.

And 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. Unlike many other courses, 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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  • Unlimited access to the course: Learn at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.
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You can upgrade at any point during the course, and up to 14 days after it finishes. Find out more here.

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This video is from the free online course:

Leadership for Healthcare Improvement and Innovation

The University of Warwick