The programme uses the recommendations from a global commission which noted that universities need major reform in the way that they train health professionals, to enable them to respond to major changes in health systems. You can see how we have responded to these recommendations in the slideshow below.
The Course aims to develop the critical thinking and analysis of problems in health services and health systems, and to use this analysis to develop competencies in improving the provision of health care on local, national and international levels:
- To promote a critical understanding of health care organisational theory and practice, with particular reference to the management challenges and practices that are unique to health care settings;
- To evaluate the drivers affecting the delivery, development and governance of health systems in developed and developing nations, and the strengths and weaknesses of policy initiatives in different country contexts;
- To develop students' strategic management knowledge and capabilities, focusing upon both the internal and external operating environments within health systems and healthcare organisations;
- To enable students to undertake and evaluate research in health services management and leadership.
This is a key element that drives the content of all modules. It means that we use real-world, real-life, up-to-date case studies, examples and scenarios, so that students can immediately see how their learning is "authentic", that is, applicable to their own working life, now and in the future. The focus is therefore not only to impart or communicate to students fundamental concepts, ideas and critical understandings of all of the processes and stages involved in every element of MSc IMHL but to contextualise this with real health management and leadership examples, so students can see exactly how what they are learning can be applied in their own work.
Learning is social: we learn from each other as much as from purely independent study. The sharing of ideas and the opportunity to debate and discuss has been demonstrated to enhance the learning process, and is a key means of developing, refining and challenging our own evolving ideas. The course uses multiple tools to deliver content and facilitate interaction with and between tutors and students, including discussion and chat tools, webinar software for real-time discussion and collaboration, wikis and screencasts. The online tools used in the programme enable and support such reciprocal learning.
Variety and Flexibility
The majority of the materials are provided in the form of text, but this is heavily supplemented, where appropriate, with videos, screencasts, internet-based materials, and the use of interactive online tools. Materials are provided in blocks or "sessions" of 2-3 weeks duration. We have found that this approach, rather than one requiring work every week, week-by-week, better permits the thorough and comprehensive study of materials, and completion of formative exercises by students working remotely, online, and part-time, and with other calls of their time. The idea for delivering materials in this flexible manner, employing such diverse methods, is based on large part on published research conducted by core staff, which is described here.