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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:

Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.

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
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.

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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

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents 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
You do need to have a good standard of spoken and written English to study successfully with us. Poor language skills will make study more difficult and are likely to impact on your ability to demonstrate your learning to successfully complete the module. If you have any doubts about whether your level of English is good enough for you to study this module you may find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study site.

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
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £1526.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2022.

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

Module texts and dedicated website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

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. Find out more about our services for disabled students.