Process Improvement in Health Systems

Internationally, many healthcare organisations are successfully using process and quality improvement methodologies to streamline processes, reduce cost, and most importantly improve the quality, experience of, and timely delivery of services to patients. When applied rigorously and throughout an entire healthcare organisation, improvement methodologies can have a positive impact on patients, their relatives, and staff. Although many improvement methodologies were developed in industry, health care is, in fact, a service industry, delivering care in extraordinarily complex organisations, with thousands of interacting processes. Many aspects of improvement methodologies therefore can and do apply to the processes of delivering care. Graduates of this programme have applied their learning successfully to improve experiences and outcomes for staff and patients in areas as diverse as Stroke Thrombolysis, Stroke Therapy, Patient Scheduling, Procurement, Data coding, ward and unit design, Rehabilitation, Hip Fracture Pathways, Pharmacy, Pathology, Radiology, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Oncology and Community Health.

This is an interactive, interdisciplinary programme open to all healthcare staff at all levels and in all settings within the health system. Our graduates include staff from clinical, health estates, administrative and support services across the broad spectrum of health service delivery. The programme content is based on the experiences of health care staff in centres of excellence in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Ireland. It has developed a set of recommendations for creating effective process and quality improvement principles for healthcare application. These principles were tested and found to be effective through over 30 iterations across 16 hospitals during a 24-month period. The module also builds on the delivery of 200+ process and quality improvement projects in Ireland since 2012, led and delivered by programme graduates who are healthcare staff, within their own practice areas and institutions.

The programme consists of one dynamic module which is based on practical experience of the implementation of and ongoing research in the use of process and quality improvement methodologies in Irish healthcare contexts. The module focuses on person-centred approaches to improvement that contribute to person-centred cultures. Our team-based learning approach focuses on healthcare-specific examples to demonstrate process improvement tools and techniques. This enables the student to lead on process and quality improvement initiatives within their own healthcare organisation. The programme has welcomed students from over 50 public and private healthcare organisations across all hospital groups and Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) in Ireland.

The programme will introduce students to the process improvement methodologies of Lean, Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Person-centred care, the Model for Improvement, and relevant theories to enable them to lead hospital and other organisation-wide process and quality improvement projects. Successful participants will be awarded a Professional Certificate in Process Improvement in Health Systems by UCD (QQI Level 8; 10 ECTS credits).

The ECTS credits earned contribute to the credit requirements of the Graduate Certificate Process Improvement in Health Systems (40 ECTS credits) and to the MSc Leadership, Innovation and Management for Healthcare (90 ECTS credits). Graduates can choose to progress onto these programmes.

Where and how is the training delivered?

The programme is currently delivered via blended learning

Half-day Graduate orientation (Trimester 1) - online via Zoom

5 class days (09:30 -16:30) over a 6-month period (Trimester 1/Trimester 2) - online via Zoom

Collaborative, inclusive, and participatory team working in between class days - online via Zoom or in-person at the discretion of team members

Assigned team mentor meetings - online via Zoom or in-person at the discretion of team mentors

Final group presentation (duration 30 minutes) - online via Zoom

Entry requirements

Healthcare Professionals should have completed the Fundamentals of Process Improvement in Health Systems (or equivalent introduction to healthcare process improvement principles)with the Mater Lean Academy/UCD or another accredited provider - contact

We advise that appliants seek the support of their manager for their process improvement journey.

Application dates

Who should apply?
Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No


1 year part-time blended.

More details
  • Attendance type

    Part time,Blended

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