You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Leading healthcare improvements

Leading healthcare improvements will help you to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills that you need in order to take a lead in improving the quality of healthcare in your local setting, whatever your role. You will explore the importance of context, aspects of leadership, working in partnership, and policy implementation. The module acknowledges the diversity of healthcare settings and provides opportunities for you to apply your knowledge and understanding to your own local context. As the first module in the Masters in Advancing Healthcare Practice, it introduces some of the basic skills you will need for postgraduate study.


K827 is a compulsory module in our:

K827 is an optional module in our:

Postgraduate Loans 

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan. For more information, see Fees and funding.

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.

OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

Request your prospectus

Explore our subjects and courses.

Request your copy today

What you will study

You will have the opportunity to engage with study materials, and with tutors and peers to meet the module learning outcomes. The module will develop your skills to study at postgraduate level, with a strong emphasis on developing study skills, digital, information and academic literacy skills and developing and supporting career planning and employability skills. The module has international relevance. While successfully completing the module does not lead to a professional registration it would be of interest to a diverse range of students who work within or contribute to the field of healthcare improvement.
The module is divided into four blocks in which you are introduced to the subject of healthcare improvement, with a focus on leadership, change, innovation, working with others to improve healthcare and application to practice. It is acknowledged that ‘practice’ will reflect the nature of your setting and work, be it paid or unpaid, clinical, management, education, health promotion, technical, research, voluntary sector or other healthcare related area. During K827 you will develop skills for postgraduate study while gaining a grounding in key elements of healthcare improvement. These will include:
  • understanding what is meant by healthcare improvement;
  • what it means to be a leader;
  • how healthcare innovation takes place in practice; and
  • the importance of working with others in a variety of ways to improve healthcare.

You will learn

On successful completion of this course you will:

  • understand the ways in which change and improvement may be defined, drawing upon insights from local practice contexts and from research evidence and theory
  • have knowledge of theories, frameworks and other explanations of leadership, change agency, innovation and policy and how these might relate to, or be influenced by a given healthcare context
  • strategically and systematically analyse the agendas and drivers for change associated with policy, innovation and other leadership initiatives
  • critically examine personal aptitudes, values, insights and skills necessary to act as a change agent
  • conduct a series of guided investigations that facilitate critical evaluation of the relationship between practice and theory
  • systematically examine the way in which philosophies, ideologies and values serve to help shape what is understood by improvement, leadership and innovation
  • formulate new courses of action or solutions to practice problems that demonstrate due and timely consultation with others in practice.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You are assigned a tutor who will help facilitate your study of the module. Your tutor is accessible by email and telephone and through the tutor group and other forums associated with this module. Regular contact with your tutor will help sustain study and increase the chances that you address the assessments in an appropriate way.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

It is essential to have access to a healthcare environment to be able to complete your assignments.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

Future availability

Leading healthcare improvements (K827) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that starts in October 2018 when it will be presented for the last time.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    It is a requirement that you have:

    • a degree (FHEQ Level 6 / SCQF Level 9), conferred by a UK university or other recognised degree-awarding body
    • access to a setting related to healthcare
    • spoken and written English of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum overall score of 6 and minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four components: reading, writing, speaking and listening under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details.

    You are strongly advised to study no more than this one 60-credit module in the same year.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    No assumptions are made regarding your understanding of healthcare improvement, leadership or other areas covered by this module. It will be useful though, to begin a learning journal in which you note areas of your own experience you feel are relevant to healthcare improvement, and any useful material you find in the media or other sources. Sensitising yourself in this way will help you to explore concepts more fully in the course.


    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £2040.00

    Registration closes 20/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    October 2018 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

    Future availability

    Leading healthcare improvements (K827) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that starts in October 2018 when it will be presented for the last time.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    This module and all the associated study material is presented online with no print material except a printed Module Guide which will give you guidance on how to get started.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and scientific, foreign language and diagrammatic materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

    Part of this course is delivered through a website providing resources and including the use of online activities. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet and have concerns about accessing this type of material you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.