POPLHLTH 724 : Quality in Health Care

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

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 explore the quality principles to an area of their own choice.

Course Overview

We have a lot of evidence about what does and doesn’t work in health care, but sometimes people miss out or receive things that don’t work. We also know that, despite our best efforts, some patients are harmed when receiving care in our health system.
The purpose of this course is to help you to identify quality improvement problems, and to design, implement, monitor and sustain initiatives to support health care improvement in your current or future work in the health system.

Course Requirements

Restriction: NURSING 775

Course Contacts

Dr. Vanessa Selak | Course Director 
Vanessa is a Senior Lecturer in the Section of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland. She is medically trained, has a PhD in Epidemiology, is a fellow of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine and has 20 years' health sector experience in clinical, planning &funding, and quality roles. Vanessa’s research is focused on using routinely collected electronic health data to answer questions from a variety of perspectives: clinical, epidemiological, health service and quality. Underpinning all of her work is the aim of supporting improvements in equitable health outcomes.
Email: v.selak@auckland.ac.nz

Dr. Rachel Roskvist | Co-teacher 
Rachel is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care at the University of Auckland and oversees the Year 5 MBChB General Practice attachments. She is a fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (FRNZCGP), and works clinically in a general practice and in sexual assault medicine. Rachel has several interests including quality and safety, and is excited at the opportunity to teach in POPLHLTH 724.
Email: rachel.roskvist@auckland.ac.nz

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify care delivery problems, critically analyse their contributors and demonstrate a systems approach to addressing them and enhancing patient safety (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  2. Apply improvement science methods and tools to support equitable health outcomes, close evidence-practice gaps, and reduce waste, harm and variation in healthcare (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  3. Identify quality issues and design a feasible, equitable and sustainable quality improvement project to address those issues (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Assignments 90% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

Delivery Mode


The course will include live online Zoom discussions and these will be recorded.
Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement.
This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

This course was substantially revised in response to student feedback in 2022 during its change in delivery mode to online.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.