Johanna Westbrook


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1988 …2024

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BAppSc (Cumb) Distinction, GradDipAppEpid, MHA (UNSW), PhD (Sydney)

Professor Johanna Westbrook, FTSE, FAIDH, FACMI, FIAHSI, is Director of the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University. She is internationally recognised for her research evaluating the effects of information and communication technologies (ICT) in health care, which has led to significant advances in our understanding of how clinical information systems deliver (or fail to deliver) expected benefits. Her highly applied research has supported translation of this evidence into policy, practice, and IT system design changes. Johanna has contributed to theoretical models regarding the design of complex multi-method ICT evaluations. She led the development of the Work Observation Method by Activity Timing (WOMBAT) software to support the conduct of observational workflow studies. WOMBAT has been used in over 15 countries and reported in >60 published studies from around the world. WOMBAT Version 3.0 is available in the Apple Store.

Professor Westbrook presented to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety regarding the contribution that ICT can make in improving quality. She leads a program of research investigating how informatics can better support the aged care sector, including projects to develop a predictive analytics dashboard for residential aged care and the design and evaluation of a National Medication Aged Care Roundtable.

Johanna has applied innovative approaches to deliver robust research evidence to inform translational improvements in the delivery and outcomes of health services. Recent research includes a longitudinal evaluation of a large-scale organisational culture change intervention designed to reduce unprofessional behaviour between hospital staff.  This work has generated comprehensive new evidence of the scale and type of unprofessional behaviours occurring among over 5000 hospital staff in seven hospitals across three states, along with detailed investigation of the effects of a professional accountability program in reducing unprofessional behaviours.

Professor Westbrook Johanna has over 500 publications and been awarded >$70M in research grants. In 2014 she was named Australian ICT professional of the year and in 2019 as the national research leader in the field of medical informatics. In 2019 she received the Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Award (Health Services Research) from the NHMRC. In 2022 She was recognised by Research Australia as winner of the national Health Services Researcher Award for her contributions to the field. Professor Westbrook was appointed as a Co-Director of the Safety, Quality and Informatics Leadership (SQIL) program, by the Harvard Medical School in 2020.  This program trains over 100 senior health care professionals in quality, safety and informatics from around the world each year.


Research interests

Informatics Evaluation, Patient Safety, Health Information Systems, Ageing, Medication Errors, Health System Sustainability, Medical Informatics, Health Services Research, Epidemiology, unprofessional behaviour.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor of Applied Science, Cumberland College of Health Sciences

Graduate Diploma of Applied Epidemiology, NSW Ministry of Health

Master of Health Administration, The University of New South Wales

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney

External positions

Scientific Advisory Panel, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute

2022 → …

Honorary Visiting Professor, SHARE – Centre for Resilience in Healthcare, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stavanger

2022 → …

International Advisory Board Member, University College Dublin

2021 → …

Expert Advisory Committee, Agency for Clinical Innovation


Member NHMRC Partnership Grant Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council

2018 → …

Chair Digital Health Safety and Quality Governance Committee, Australian Digital Health Agency


Treasurer, International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA)


Ministerial Appointed Board Member, Australian Digital Health Agency


Board Member, The Sax Institute


Advisory Board, Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research


Member NHMRC Partnership Grant Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council

2015 → …

Member NHMRC Partnership Grant Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council


Expert of International Standing Reviewer, Australian Research Council

2010 → …

Project Grant Reviewer, National Health and Medical Research Council



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