Health and Aged Care

Developing and implementing innovation in health services – how learning matters

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Why would a busy clinician invest so much of their time and energy in pursuing an academic course? Participants Leah, Arthur, and Jeff share their real-world stories about how learning matters in developing and implementing innovation in health services.

As Study Area Coordinator for the Graduate Certificate in Health Services Innovation at the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (AusHSI), I spoke with three of our students to find out what the course had taught them.

The Graduate Certificate is the first university qualification aimed at enabling senior clinicians and health service administrators to develop, implement, and evaluate innovations within the healthcare setting.

Designed in partnership with health services, the qualification provides comprehensive knowledge of the funding and governance context of health service delivery, methods to implement change and evaluation methods for measuring change, including cost-effectiveness analysis.

What I like about the program is its intimate nature. We really get to know the students and their projects. This means as academics we develop meaningful relationships with senior health professionals and are able to understand well the challenges they face.

All the students participated in the course while working in their respective roles at Metro North Hospital and Health Service. Their roles all involve facilitating change or trialing new models of care as innovative leaders.

Leah Thompson, Occupational Therapist and Manager of Research and Quality at The Prince Charles Hospital.
Leah Thompson

Leah Thompson is an Occupational Therapist and Manager of Research and Quality at The Prince Charles Hospital.

Leah thought the Graduate Certificate would help increase her skill-set and professional network as well as help her to develop an App to help the health system record, track and report sub-specialist’s consultations for inpatients.

She told me one of the most useful things the course has taught her is that implementation is a process within itself – and successful and sustained implementation requires considerable time investment and planning. In her professional role, Leah has learnt to build time for project implementation and not underestimate the investment that meaningful context and stakeholder analysis can bring to the success of a project.

Arthur Kadhani
Arthur Kadhani

Arthur Kadhani is trialing a new model of care to improve interdisciplinary communication in clinical practice at the Redcliffe Hospital Emergency Department. His project aims to improve the treatment of mental health patients arriving in the Emergency Department by strengthening communication between the different health care disciplines and so the timeliness and quality of patient treatment overall.

Arthur’s mental health executive recommended he study the new AusHSI Graduate Certificate in Health Services Innovation for the benefit of his research into this project.

He says

“The Implementation Science Unit of the Graduate Certificate in Health Services Innovation has provided a framework that is remarkably applicable to any environment or any scope. It is a really effective program that helps you target the right people with the right information to save the whole health system time and resources.”

Associate Professor Jeffrey Rowland
Associate Professor Jeffrey Rowland

Associate Professor Jeffrey Rowland is undertaking a project addressing falls treatment in patients presenting to the Emergency Department at the Prince Charles Hospital. People fall for many different reasons. Some falls or unexplained fainting are harmless while others may be serious. However, many people who arrive at the Emergency Department are admitted unnecessarily when their condition could be managed appropriately at local community level.

The possible outcomes for this project include fewer people in Emergency being admitted to hospital, fewer inappropriate investigations into falls and less wastage of patients’ and clinicians’ time – in short, a more efficient and effective use of hospital resources and a more streamlined process for patients.

Jeffrey says:

“The Graduate Certificate in Health Services Innovation is helping me get evidence-based innovation off the ground. It is confirming and broadening my knowledge and providing different implementation frameworks to develop the right contextual approach.”


The corporate Graduate Certificate entails four units, completed part-time over two years. Initially developed in collaboration between Metro North Hospital and Health Service, in 2020 we will be offering this course to other health service providers. For more information visit

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Elizabeth Martin is Research Fellow in the School of Public Health and Social Work in the Faculty of Health at Queensland University of Technology. Elizabeth is a health services researcher with expertise in economic evaluation and maternity services. Her research unites her passion for wellness, economics and the practical needs of health services and governments to improve health outcomes.

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