Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module HEAS40230: Organising Clinical Work

Department: Health [Queen's Campus, Stockton]

HEAS40230: Organising Clinical Work

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to B9K109 & B9K112


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module is designed as a Level 4 module and is the third in the proposed suite of Clinical Management programmes. In general terms the aims of the module are that students can understand and critique the use of the various components/techniques of clinical work process control.


  • The module opens with an introduction to the principles of work process control and its application. The theory and practice of common quality assurance techniques are analysed and critiqued. The literature on implementation is surveyed and the need for supporting structures and clinical governance mechanisms is reviewed.
  • From this base the module examines the application of work process control principles and methods to high volume case types in acute, primary care and social services settings. In doing so, the module examines and demonstrates how integrated clinical pathways (ICPs) provide vehicles for realising the conceptual and practical interconnections between individual service improvement initiatives with respect to quality improvement, risk reduction, infection control and policy efforts variously directed at extending and evidentiary basis of clinical practice and improving service efficiency and effectiveness.
  • In more detail, the module examines the processes associated with clinical pathway development and implementation. In doing this, it develops the students' skills in meta-analysis of the clinical literature, process mapping, flow-charting, event analysis and prioritisation, clinical documentation, specification of quality and outcome indicators, pathway costing, variance analysis, and clinical reviews. Against the background of an examination of the organisational structures and processes that are needed to implement ICP's, the module develops students' social, political and communicative skills in mobilising these structures and processes to best effect.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this Module students should be able to:
  • understand the background to, and use of, work process control techniques in industry;
  • describe specific clinical process control techniques (such as clinical pathways and protocols, PDSA cycles, process mapping and their use).
  • select, apply, and analyse the results of outcome monitoring as a component of the clinical pathway system.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this Module students should be able to:
  • design structures and practices which at the level of individual clinical units have the capacity to:
  • -balance clinical autonomy with accountability.
  • -monitor interconnections between the clinical and resource dimensions of care.
  • -strengthen the interdisciplinary nature of a clinical unit's work.
  • -bring clinical work within work process control.
  • diagnose action to overcome constraints to the implementation of apporpriate clinical process control techniques.
  • estimate the expected costs of provisions of care according to a clinical pathway, and identify optimal ways of reducing costs (if required) by adjustment of the elements of care.
  • record and analyse variances (that is, significant deviations from the clinical pathway/protocol) and define remedial actions.
  • prepare and evaluate patient-held versions of clinical pathways.
  • integrate the components of clinical work process control within healthcare settings for clinical care design and delivery.
  • integrate documentation of care provided by use of clinical pathways with other important information systems including the patient medical records.
  • design contracts with health care purchasers based on costed clinical pathways.
Key Skills:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • See Appendix 1 of the Programme Specification for details.
  • Teaching in this module will comprise; lectures, structured reading (as part of independent study), exercises, tutorials, group work, and written work.
  • Lectures, individual study (including structured reading) provide the main means for communicating key concepts; written work provides the means for marshalling arguments and presenting them in a sound and convincing fashion.
  • The practical exercises will enable students to test their ability to understand work process control principles within specific situations and case studies. These exercises can be conducted in groups as students learn from each other in appraising their understanding of clinical work control.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 12 lectures Spread over residential 1.5 hours 18
Tutorials 4 Spread over residential 1.5 hours 6
Seminars 1 One day (Broken into 4 x 1.5 hours) 6 hours 6
Practicals 1 One block during the residential 3 hours 3
Supervised Group Work 4 Spread over residential 2 8
Preperation and Reading Time 259
Total: 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Work Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1500 words 100%
Component: Written Work Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2000 words 100%
Component: Written Work Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 4000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

See Programme Specification Section 2 for details.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University