Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 724 - Quality in Health Care

15 Points

Semester 1



Quality healthcare is examined with an emphasis on strategies that enable individuals, teams, and services within healthcare organisations to implement and sustain performance improvement. Allows students to apply the quality principles to an area of their own choice.


Restriction: NURSING 775 

Programme and course advice

This course is required for the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health in Effective Practice, but is optional for a number of Faculty of Medical and Health Science programmes including the Postgraduate Diploma / Masters of Public Health and the Postgraduate Certificate / Diploma in Health Sciences in Health Informatics. It is also recommended for the Public Health pathways in Health Services Management and Health Services Research and is an optional course for BHSc(Hons) students.

The course is aimed at professionals working in the health care sector (including clinical practice, quality improvement, research, management, planning, policy and health informatics).

Quality improvement is fundamental to providing care that is safe, acceptable, cost-effective and increases the likelihood of desired health outcomes.

Quality improvement methods have application across all aspects of health care and at all levels of service delivery.

 This course is a pre-requisite for two other courses on clinical quality and safety:

Course aims

Content outline

The following topics are taught over a four day period.

  1. Basics concepts of Quality Improvement
  2. Patient Engagement
  3. Patient Safety
  4. Framework for Improvement
  5. Measurement & Tools
  6. Application in healthcare practice

Goals of the course

This course considers the issue of quality in health care in terms of both personal health services and population health. The goals of the course are to enable people in health care to bring a quality focus into the workplace and contribute to quality initiatives in their area of work.

Learning outcomes 

  1. Describe why a QI skill set is important in healthcare
  2. Describe the meaning and dimensions of quality from the perspectives of the patient, the team, the organisation and in the wider context of the health care environment
  3. Apply improvement science methods and tools to close evidence-practice gaps and reduce waste, harm and variation in healthcare
  4. Outline the basic approaches to measurement in QI, including identifying appropriate measures, sampling methods, collecting, analysing, interpreting and describing and displaying variation
  5. Describe the role of human factors in medical error and apply a systems approach to understand, manage and improve patient safety
  6. Outline ways to sustain and spread successful QI interventions


Learning will be assessed as follows:

  • Assignments 70%
  • Multi choice questionnaire 30% 

Learning and teaching

This course is taught in Auckland over four days throughout the semester on the Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.

Where possible teaching is interactive with some lecture presentations and small group activities. An informal format encourages discussion so that the whole group can benefit from the experiences of those with experience in the workplace. Guest lecturers also contribute where appropriate. Students are encouraged to read widely and participate actively in the learning process.

All lectures will be recorded (PowerPoint + audio). It is not possible to record small group activities during teaching days, but the details of these activities will be provided afterwards.

Learning resources 

Students are provided access to online course pages in CANVAS which is the University’s online Learning Management System. These pages give the course outline, objectives for each session and recommended reading. All PowerPoint presentations and additional course materials are available through CANVAS.

There is no prescribed textbook; reading lists will be provided. 

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator