Health Systems Science

Credits: 4 CREDITS (2P+2B)
Director(s): Anjala Tess
Offered: March
Location: HMS - Harvard Medical School (0)
Open to Exclerks: No (HMS only)
Description: Summary: The highest quality of care can be described as providing the “right care at the right time, to the right patient.” Evidence based care has become the cornerstone of clinical care but researchers have noticed a gap where best practices do not always translate to improved care at the bedside. Implementation science provides insight into why some interventions are successful and others are not. This course introduces students to the framework and research methodology that explore these issues. Forefronts in system data including systems engineering methods, modeling, and artificial intelligence will be shared. Given that improvement across a system is inextricably linked to care at the frontline, the approach and tools of quality improvement will also be taught. This course will expose students to the breadth of possibility of scientific work in this field – all within the context of real world gaps and finding solutions for the future. Format of classroom-based sessions: Classroom sessions will use a variety of approaches, including case-based collaborative learning, interactive workshops to teach improvement tools and methodology, interactive research sessions, and invited speakers who are experts in their fields. Examples of both successful and unsuccessful approaches will be shared. Students will be assigned to small groups to analyze specific problems and generate possible research designs to evaluate solutions. Students will be expected to complete preparatory reading, with presentations and projects over the four weeks. The final project will include a group research proposal and presentation to study evidence based interventions to a quality problem. Format of clinical/field experiences: Clinic/field sessions will vary including direct observation of work in clinical settings and meetings with stakeholders in operations and QI and Safety (hospital administrators, local HMS-affiliated nonprofits dedicated to improved quality and safety, frontline clinicians, etc.). Students will be assigned to one of five small groups with each group focused on a different gap or problem. Students' preferences will be solicited before assignments. The objective is for students to design rigorous research questions affecting both the front line and the organizational level. Anticipated schedule: All AISCs are full time courses. Students are expected to devote at least 40 hours per week to scheduled sessions and preparatory work. This course holds class three half days, and students spend an additional two half-days in clinical or field visits per week (individual clinic schedules will vary), as well as regular preparatory reading for classroom sessions and project development.