Better systems to transform health

Just as Henry Ford used new techniques to transform the car industry, UK Professor Terry Young believes improved healthcare systems can deliver better results.

Professor Young, from London’s Brunel University, will give a Flinders College of Medicine and Public Health seminar Missing in Action: Can you design a better health system around you?at Victoria Square on Wednesday 8 November.

He will discuss how to better structure health services and reform, and the tools that can help – an issue of vital importance to the Australian economy as it deals with an ageing population.

The Australian Productivity Commission report found healthcare costs and management will play a crucial role in future economic outcomes.

As Director of The Cumberland Initiative, Professor Young works with clinicians, academics and industry experts to design healthcare that improves productivity, and bring data into practice.

“As our population ages and the need for healthcare increases, greater efficiency will be demanded from healthcare delivery services,” says the Head of Health Care Management at Flinders University, Professor Mark Mackay, who is part of The Cumberland Initiative in Australia.

Professor Mackay believes Australian healthcare providers, particularly hospitals, have much to gain from the Cumberland Initiative which aims to improve the health sector by revising the delivery of services.

“Currently, not enough time is spent teaching healthcare professionals and healthcare professional students about designing an efficient system for moving patients through hospitals,” he says.

“While it’s clear that our future health professionals and our current health professionals have a focus on building and practicing their clinical skills, they are key decision-makers in the system. Consequently, it’s important that these decision-makers and those involved in health management have the opportunity to learn about tools that may help improve the flow of patients through the health system,” Professor Mackay says.

“At the same time, better system design needs a multidisciplinary approach.”

The Cumberland Initiative is the major international partner in a Premier’s International Research Fund grant that was awarded to Professor Mackay and colleagues.

The grant is being used to investigate patient flow issues in South Australia and has resulted in academics and students from Brunel, Cardiff and Queens Universities travelling to Adelaide over the last past years.

Professor Young has a background in management, teaching and research. He has worked in technology and systems, and has focused on healthcare for nearly two decades.

He is active in developing pedagogy, especially blended learning, threshold assessment schemes and in tracking student engagement to gain an integrated view of student performance.

He was also named a Top 50 Innovator by The Health Service Journal in 2013 and a Fellow of the British Computer Society.

The Cumberland Initiative brings academics, companies and clinical staff together to realise a step change in the efficiency and quality of care delivery, plus the prospect of new jobs from an expanded knowledge sector around health.

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