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University of Queensland

Understanding the Australian Health Care System

University of Queensland via edX


This course will enable you to understand the workings of the Australian health care system. By following in the footsteps of patient journeys, you will gain an experiential understanding of how this multi-layered system operates in the context of the geographic, social and cultural landscapes of Australia and how to successfully navigate within this system.

This course will enable you to answer questions such as:

  • Why are there multiple layers within this health care system?
  • What are these layers and how are they funded?
  • What is the role of insurance in this system?
  • How are medicines regulated and made available in Australia?
  • What services and roles are available in the Australian health care system?
  • How can I facilitate patient journeys through the Australian health care system?

You will engage in many activities throughout this course to explore these and other questions.


Section 1: Health System Structure
Explores the multiple layers of care within the Australian health care system.
Section 2: Funding and Medicare
An overview of financing and how the cost of health care may impact on individual patients as well as society.
Section 3: Insurance and Health
An introduction to the types of insurance that impact on payment for health care services.
Section 4: People and Roles
Explores the range of services available and roles of people working within the system, including community care, hospitals and other health-related facilities.
Section 5: Health Landscapes
An identification of some of the ways in which Australia's geographical, cultural and historical landscapes may impact upon the current system.
Section 6: Standards and Access
An outline of the regulation and maintenance of standards within the Australian health care system and how each of these impact on patient safety.
Section 7: Medicines and Therapeutic Goods
A description of the processes and authorities / committees involved in the regulation of medicines and other therapeutic goods in Australia and the relevant funding sources, including costs to patients and to society.
Section 8: Mapping and Facilitating Journeys
An overview of strategies for mapping and facilitating a patient’s journey through the Australian health care system.

Taught by

Dr. Cherri Ryan , Prof. Mieke van Driel and Dr. Allyson Mutch


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