An Improvement Science expert from Swansea University has travelled to Australia to identify opportunities for collaborative research and visit hospitals benefiting from extensive improvement programmes.

Dr Sharon Williams, from the College of Human and Health Sciences, visited Victoria and Queensland as part of her Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellowship. 

Dr Williams spent time in Melbourne, sharing her research with a team from Monash University’s School of Management, who lead the academic partnership for the Australian Research Council (ARC) improvement programme.  While in Melbourne, Dr Williams visited two of the hospitals participating in improvement programmes through ARC, meeting with their Directors of Improvement.

Dr Williams also met with academics from Wollongong University, Griffiths University, Curtin University and the University Western Australia and was hosted by the Princess Alexandra hospital and the Gold Coast General Hospital.  She said: “I was impressed by the IT systems that had been developed to support transport to home and bed management activities within Princess Alexandra Hospital.  I was also impressed with the central role that data analysts play in much of the improvement activity at both sites.” 

Dr Williams added: “It was really reaffirming and inspiring to see how hospitals from other countries are approaching quality improvement.  It is interesting in that they are facing very similar issues (e.g. ‘winter’ pressures) but of course in a slightly different context.  The trip has produced fantastic opportunities for collaborative research both with practitioners and academics, of which we are beginning to build.”

As a result of the visit to Australia, Dr Williams is working on a number of collaborative research projects, including one with the Assistant Director of Nursing (Patient flow) at Princess Alexandra Hospital on a project to explore how emotional mapping might be included in some of the hospital’s improvement work.