Achieving greater clinician engagement and impact in health care improvement: a neglected imperative

Ian A Scott, Jennifer Kallie and Areti Gavrilidis
Med J Aust 2020; 212 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50438
Published online: 13 January 2020

Engaging frontline clinicians in effective quality and safety improvement is essential for improving patient outcomes

Health care in Australia faces many challenges. Research suggests, for example, that effective care is underused in 40% of clinical encounters,1 up to 60% of tests and treatments are not justified by evidence,2 and misuse or errors affect up to 20% of hospital admissions.3 These observations call for significant investment in systematised quality and safety improvement (QSI) activities which can improve patient outcomes across a variety of clinical settings. These include reducing surgical site infections in joint replacement surgery,4 reducing mishaps, complications and mortality during and after non‐cardiac surgery,5 or improving survival and optimising care processes of patients with acute cardiac disease.6

  • Ian A Scott1,2
  • Jennifer Kallie3
  • Areti Gavrilidis3

  • 1 Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 3 Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners, Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD



We acknowledge the following members of the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) Health Systems Improvement and Sustainability working group who reviewed and provided comments on earlier drafts: Michael Barton, Patricia Bradd, Jane Gray, Leonard Gray, Edward Janus, Michael Kalloniatis, Christopher Levi and Tracy Robinson. The paper arose from their discussions on clinical improvement practices and unwarranted clinical variation. We also thank Dr Haida Luke from Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners (BDHP) and executive members of the AHRA. The Australian Government Medical Research Future Fund enabled BDHP and the AHRA to undertake this work. The funding source played no role in the planning, writing or publication of the work or in data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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