5 Whys

The 5 Whys is an iterative technique pioneered at Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1930s to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underpinning a problem. By working back the cause of one effect to another up to five times, designers can identify the root causes and explore effective solutions.

“Be ahead of the times through endless creativity, inquisitiveness and pursuit of improvement.” — Sakichi Toyoda, Japanese industrialist and inventor who formulated the 5 Whys method,causes%20and%20explore%20effective%20solutions.

Accrual accounting

Accrual accounting is the recognition of changes of value (earnings or expenditure) to an organisation according to date when an asset or liability is incurred.

Activity Based Funding

Activity based funding refers to a systematic method of remuneration to healthcare providers based up a predetermined episode of care payable to the provider upon the separation of the patient from the providers of the healthcare (i.e., conclusion of the healthcare service).   ABF differs from fee-for-service in that all the constituent services associated with the continuum of care are bundled into the one fee payable upon completion of the care. 


Artificial intelligence.


Possessions (and skills) that are owned and have value that can be used to generate income in the future

Balanced Score Card

The Balanced Scorecard was developed by Kaplan & Norton in the late 1980s and refers to the method of reporting measurements associated with strategic outcomes and operational performance beyond that which can be achieved through financial reporting alone. 

Block funding

Block funding refers to the remuneration for an agreed service based on prospective terms and conditions associated with the expected outcomes for that service over a specific period. 


A budget is a prospective plan that aims to predict future economic activity in terms of revenue and expenditures associated with the purpose of the organisation.  Budgets are commonly expressed and conceived in financial terms but may also include plans expressed in non-financial terms (such as staff rostering) that have a financial impact on the organisation. 


A state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion experienced by healthcare professionals as a result of prolonged and intense stress in their work environment. 


Capitation is form of financial distribution based on the target population as a form of equitable distribution.  For example, capitation funding for a service is based on a certain amount per person in that population regardless of whether every person in that population receives or benefits from that service. 

Cash Accounting

Cash accounting is the recognition of changes of value to an organisation according to date when an asset or liability is paid.

Cash Flow

Cash flow refers to the differences of value over time when an asset or liability is incurred and when the said asset or liability is paid. 


The Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research 


Causal Loop Diagram

Clinical Governance

Clinical governance refers to the application of Governance processes to healthcare organisations with a view to encouraging quality of care by developing resilience and reliability in the provision of health care services, by assigning responsibility and accountability for the establishment of clinical operational rules and decision-making processes.  Clinical governance delineates the separation between managerial authority and clinical autonomy.

Episode of Care

An episode of care refers to a predetermined series of specific healthcare services (continuum of care) provided to patient from diagnosis or admission to hospital until the treatment is concluded (i.e., discharged or upon death).   

Fee for Service

Fee for service is form of financial remuneration based on payment for a single service.   

Financial Pooling

The predetermined collection of resources (usually monetary) into a repository which can then be redistributed as the agreed demands.  Universal health coverage depends on the gathering of financial resources on the widest possible basis (usually nationwide) 

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The GST is a consumption tax levied on most goods and services provided throughout Australia.  Established in 2001 and managed by the Commonwealth Government, it is the discrete funding stream for states and territories.


Governance refers to the manner and method by which an organisation establishes operational rules and decision-making processes that regulate the organisation.  Governance determines the underlying culture of an organisation:  a just and equitable governance process is reflected in an organisational culture that ensures merit, integrity, benefice and respect for stakeholders, staff and customers alike. 


Health information system.

Horizontal Access Equity

Horizontal access equity in healthcare refers to the principle that all eligible persons should have the same opportunity to receive (access) healthcare upon need, and that any restriction(s) to healthcare (such as defining what constitutes emergency, acute and elective care) is applied consistently across the eligible population.


Information, communication and technology.


Incident Management System. An incident management system incorporates the policy, procedure, processes and technology that supports the identification, management and resolution of incidents that occur when delivering care and services to health and social care consumers.

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

The International Financial Reporting Standards are a set of accounting rules that have been developed through international consultation and cooperation to encourage the consistent reporting of financial information and are based on the four principles of (1) revenue recognition (2) matching, (3) materiality, and (4) consistency.  The impact is that the financial reports of publicly listed companies and publicly owned companies from any country adopting these principles consistent, comparable, and reliable.

Ishikawa diagram

One of the seven basic tools of quality control and pioneered by Ishikawa in Japan and used to identify production defects.  Further reading on the use and history of the Ishikawa diagram can be found here


Information technology

Length of Stay

The length of stay refers to the number of days or part thereof that an individual remains an inpatient and occupies a hospital bed.


Most commonly, things of value owed to other people or organisations for which a payment or trade is needed.

Medicare (Australia)

The name of the Australian government program established in 1984 that provides universal health coverage for primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare to all citizens and permanent residents. 

Organisational culture

The shared beliefs, values, attitudes, assumptions, and behaviors that exist within an organisation and shape its overall work environment.

Outcome measures

Measures of the results, impacts, or changes that occur as a direct or indirect effect of the program or intervention. 

Output measures

Measures focused on quantifying the immediate products, services, or activities delivered.


The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services framework  


Plan, Do, Study, Act.  A technique for quality improvement.

Per diem

Per diem (literally per day) is form of remuneration based on the length of accommodation whereby a healthcare provider is paid a predetermined set fee for each day or part thereof that an inpatient occupies a bed.  This model is most commonly associates with hotels/motels which charge a per diem fee for accommodation; historically private hospital remuneration was predominantly based upon per diem payments.  A per diem model of hospital remuneration has the perverse impact of encouraging increased lengths of stay. 

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

The Australian Government program that subsidizes and ensures access to a range of essential medicines at a standard maximum price for consumers regardless of the cost of the medication itself.  If the cost of the medication is lower than the standard maximum consumer fee, then that is the price that is charged. 

Psychological safety

A multi-dimensional, dynamic phenomenon that concerns team members’ perception of whether it is safe to take interpersonal risks at work.


Quality improvement utilises a wide variety of methods and tools to understand quality issues and causes and design solutions to solve problems.

Quadruple aim

An expansion of the triple aim (improving patient experience and satisfaction, improving population health and reducing healthcare costs) to include enhancing the wellbeing of healthcare providers.  


Root Cause Analysis.

Separation (Hospital)

A healthcare or hospital separation is defined as the point at which the patient leaves the care of the healthcare provider.  

Triple C model

Consultation, Collaboration and consolidation model

Universal Health Coverage

Universal health coverage occurs where arrangements are in place so that residents of a specific region or country have access to and receive treatment on an equitable basis according to specific need and urgency regardless of the individual’s ability to pay, as the costs associated with such healthcare provision are shared across the entire community.

Vertical Access Equity

Vertical access equity in healthcare refers to the principle that healthcare provision is prioritized in terms of an individual’s need compared to others that may also be demanding services, predicated upon the definitions of emergency, acute and elective care are consistently applied.

Vicarious trauma

The psychological and emotional impact of repeated exposure to the traumatic experiences of others. 


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