Promoting excellence: The vital role of clinical effectiveness and research in health care

Catherine Scott

Sundale Ltd

Ensuring clinical effectiveness and utilising research is integral to robust clinical governance. It involves fostering a collaborative environment among all healthcare team members to yield the best possible outcomes for our consumers. By building effective leadership, operational processes, and a healthy workplace culture, we can attain optimal results for our consumers.

Encompassing practices like credentialing, clinical audits, performance evaluations, education and training, adherence to established clinical guidelines, and monitoring variations in practice all contribute to the delivery of safe and quality healthcare services.

Establishing and maintaining a clinical governance system leverages the components within its framework to drive enhancements in safety and quality. Clinical leaders play a pivotal role in supporting team members to:

  • Grasp and fulfil their delegated roles and responsibilities in promoting safety and quality.
  • Operate within the clinical governance framework to enhance the safety and quality of healthcare for consumers.

We all are responsible for ensuring adequate supervision of our healthcare and clinical workforce. Team members with limited experience require more extensive oversight and regular assessment. The purpose of supervision within a clinical governance structure is twofold:

  • Ensure less experienced team members maintain an acceptable standard of practice, and
  • Identify opportunities for their growth and development.

Empowering our healthcare providers and caregivers to utilise the most current and reliable evidence in delivering safe, high-quality care is paramount. The implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of evidence-based clinical pathways facilitate the provision of effective care. It is important to consider implementing processes:

  • Offering clinicians easy access to best-practice guidelines, integrated care pathways, clinical protocols, and decision-support tools pertinent to their clinical domain, and
  • Supporting clinicians in utilising the most up-to-date evidence, including relevant clinical care standards established by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Clinicians are responsible for their practice, encompassing compliance with established clinical guidelines or pathways. Oversight of clinical practice enables early detection and management of practices that could potentially endanger consumers.

Effective quality improvement systems identify the extent of deviation from agreed-upon clinical guidelines or pathways and outline how such deviations are addressed. Clinical care standards foster the delivery of appropriate care, reduce unwarranted variations in care, and encourage collaborative decision-making involving consumers, their families, and the healthcare team.

Ensuring the clinical workforce is appropriately supervised further supports safe, high-quality care delivery. Providing supervision for clinicians and caregivers to enable them to safely fulfil their designated roles, including access to after-hours guidance, is also of utmost importance.

  • Manley K, Kate Sanders K, Cardiff S, Webster J. Effective workplace culture: The attributes, enabling factors and consequences of a new concept. International Practice Development Journal. 2011;1(2):1-29. 
  •  Rubio DM, Schoenbaum EE, Lee LS, Schteingart DE, Marantz PR, Anderson KE, et al. Defining translational research: Implications for training. Acad Med. 2010;85(3):470-475. 
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*The views and opinions expressed in Knowledge Blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ARIIA, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.