Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

An overview of clinical governance policies, practices and initiatives

Jeffrey Braithwaite and Joanne F Travaglia

Australian Health Review 32(1) 10 - 22
Published: 2008


Objective: To map the emergence of, and define, clinical governance; to discuss current best practices, and to explore the implications of these for boards of directors and executives wishing to promote a clinical governance approach in their health services. Methods: Review and analysis of the published and grey literature on clinical governance from 1966 to 2006. Medline and CINAHL databases, key journals and websites were systematically searched. Results: Central issues were identified in the literature as key to effective clinical governance. These include: ensuring that links are made between health services? clinical and corporate governance; the use of clinical governance to promote quality and safety through a focus on quality assurance and continuous improvement; the creation of clinical governance structures to improve safety and quality and manage risk and performance; the development of strategies to ensure the effective exchange of data, knowledge and expertise; and the sponsoring of a patientcentred approach to service delivery. Conclusions: A comprehensive approach to clinical governance necessarily includes the active participation of boards and executives in sponsoring and promoting clinical governance as a quality and safety strategy. Although this is still a relatively recent development, the signs are promising.

© AHHA 2008

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