Redesign in the Emergency Department

Improving Patient Outcomes and Experiences in Tasmanian Emergency Departments

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement



$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Healthcare redesign is an evidence-based methodology designed to improve the delivery of health services through improved clinical outcomes, patient, family, and healthcare staff experiences as well as economic, safety and quality benefits for healthcare organisations. Increased presentations to emergency departments is an ongoing issue locally, and globally, often resulting in adverse outcomes such as prolonged length of stay and increased mortality. Clinical pathways are standardised, evidence-based multidisciplinary management plans, which identify an appropriate sequence of clinical interventions, timeframes, milestones and expected outcomes for a homogenous patient group. Clinical Pathways have been developed in Tasmania to address local concerns relating to quality and safety of acute care.

Despite current favourable evidence for the use of clinical pathways, poor adherence within the Tasmanian emergency departments exists. Internal auditing by the state government and supported by representative frontline workers, revealed less than 10% adherence to these clinical pathways.  The reasons for these poor adherence rates are not well understood. Undertaking evidence-based investigations of root causes of adherence issues and the capacity that is required to effectively and sustainably implement clinical pathways in Tasmanian emergency departs is a central tenet of the healthcare redesign methodology.

The aim of this project is to improve Tasmanian emergency department patient clinical outcomes and experiences through improved adherence to Clinical Pathways.

The specific objectives are:

  1. Explore and understand the barriers and enablers for adherence to four Clinical Pathways (suspected stroke, chest pain, #NOF, sepsis) in Tasmanian emergency departments;
  2. Determine current adherence rates to four clinical pathways in emergency departments in Tasmania and associated clinical pathway patient outcomes vs non-clinical pathway patient outcomes;
  3. Explore patient and family experience in the four emergency departments in Tasmania; and
  4. Develop evidence-based strategies and solutions for improving adherence to clinical pathway rates in Tasmanian emergency departments.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sarah Prior


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend funded by MRFF of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The candidate must have completed a postgraduate level course in the health and medicine field.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • A minimum of 2 years experience working in healthcare in Australia
  • Experience in redesign or project management
  • Experience in mixed methods research

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Sarah Prior to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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