Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

MEDICINE 702 - Understanding Complex Clinical Systems

15 Points

Semester 1, 2019                 


The Quality and Safety of health care around the world has become of increasing concern in recent years. This area of inquiry attempts to better understand and manage the complexities of delivering safe and high quality care in a wide range of health care systems and environments.

This course uses system science, complexity theory, and implementation science to help understand how leaders improve quality and safety in healthcare. The course includes the ways in which implementation of change can fail, and how organisational culture, power, and politics affect effective leadership within clinical systems.

MEDICINE 702 is a 15 point course intended for professionals working in healthcare management or clinical practice. The course offers flexibility by supporting web-based learning. You will learn about the complex and dynamic characteristics of healthcare systems, and how to provide effective leadership in times of change and crisis. Assessment involves four assignments.

The course is designed to support distance learning, enabling busy professionals to take part. There are six modules delivered online, and each one is followed by a 2 hour videoconference to discuss the material. Students can also attend these discussions in person if they prefer.


Prerequisite: POPLHLTH 724 or NURSING 775

What you will learn

In this course you will develop an understanding of complexity, and the management of complex systems, from a healthcare perspective. You will learn about implementation science and develop skills in leading change in health care settings. 

Course format

This course is delivered in a way to make it accessible for people in full-time employment, and for people living outside the Auckland region. There are six modules, and we will spend two weeks on each module. There are online readings, videos and resources for you to work through, followed by a discussion that you can attend either in person or via teleconferencing. The discussions are scheduled fortnightly. 

Course Director