The growing challenges on healthcare systems around the world have inspired researchers at the University of Bath to devise an online course to help healthcare practitioners spot opportunities for innovation in their organisations, and put ideas into practise.

The free online course, known as a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) takes four weeks to complete and is devised by the School of Management’s Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement (CHI²), along with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

“In this introductory course, participants will learn about key innovation theories, as well as practical tools and skills to help them drive change initiatives in their organisations,” said Dr Rossella Salandra, from the University of Bath’s School of Management. “By the end of the course they will be equipped to spot opportunities for innovation, generate new ideas and understand the steps involved in improving products, processes and services in their own workplaces.”

The course will help health practitioners, clinicians, health and social managers, as well as commissioners from the commercial sector, learn more about health innovation, enabling them to apply learning in their workplace.

“Innovation in healthcare is vitally important to meeting the future needs of the NHS; this free online course teaches the basics as well as tips and theory at a learner’s own pace,” said Professor Nigel Harris, Director of Innovation and Growth at the West of England AHSN.

The course will help participants to understand the need for innovation to meet the future needs of organisations like the NHS. Entitled An Introduction to Innovation in Healthcare, the course is hosted online via FutureLearn and each weekly session involves around three hours of study.

MOOCs provide people from all around the world with the opportunity to expand their education and learning for free. These online university short courses are usually completed over a set number of weeks using video lectures and relevant reading materials. Discussion forums encourage interaction between learners and with the educators.

The new course follows CHI²'s first MOOC on quality improvement in healthcare. Focused on improving patient safety and experience of care, the course welcomed over 20,000 participants.