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Building partnerships not silos

Professor Robin Gauld, Otago Business School, CHeSTIntegrating business skills to create workable systems that improve health care performance is something the University of Otago Business School is well positioned to do.

The University Centre for Health Systems and Technology (CHeST) is a new research hub linking academic, community, clinical and policy expertise from across New Zealand and internationally.

The interdisciplinary platform will connect people with health systems interests in new ways, breaking down silos to build one interdisciplinary research group which plans to improve health research delivery and develop research and quality improvement capacity.

CHeST builds on the success of its predecessor – the Centre for Health Systems, Dunedin School of Medicine.

It has five research themes:

  • Healthcare and health service delivery
  • Health system architecture, management and performance
  • Health quality, safety and community engagement
  • Health workforce
  • Health technology

CHeST Co-Director Professor Robin Gauld, Pro Vice Chancellor of Commerce, said CHeST represents a critical cross-campus partnership, combining health sciences with business practice research and expertise in information technology.

It draws from the existing strong relationship between the Otago Medical School, Dunedin Hospital, local health and administration professionals, and the community, as well as pre-existing relationships between various individuals in Otago’s Business School and Health Sciences Division.

CHeST also dovetails into the New Zealand Health Research Strategy 2017-27, which recognises the importance of health delivery and suggests increasing health systems and services research.

Helping develop new health systems

Historically, health system development, in New Zealand and elsewhere, has been adhoc. There is a growing global need now for better designed processes to fit the needs of today, ones that manage seamless care through hospital, primary care and into the community.

Professor Gauld said the University can contribute to addressing this urgent universal need – developing innovative models of care that are more efficient and cost-effective than the current, and at the same time offer a better care experience.

Such systems have considerable potential to generate greater economic and health benefits for New Zealand.

“Inter-disciplinary expertise and partnership is essential to drive the type of health system integration needed.

I believe CheST's integrated approach is putting the University at the forefront of health systems and technology research in Australasia. Few others globally bring together the full range of health sciences and medicine, and business disciplines.”

The Business School’s strengths lie in leading effective collaborations across research, policy and practice, allowing us to focus on the applied end of health policy and system improvement.”

In particular, organisational research and better use of technology have an increasingly important role in designing better systems and frameworks. For instance, we have commerce researchers already studying organisational best practice, and we have some very innovative information technology research contributing to the health sector.

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