Challenges for clinical leaders in the new digital age of genomic medicine

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Clinical genomics will challenge the delivery of current health care services by replacing diagnostics, treatments and public health strategies. If the potential benefits of genomic medicine are to be realised, service provision will need to evolve rapidly. Understanding how we prepare leaders to steer health services through this change is imperative. Melbourne and Australian Genomics have been supporting the use of genomics by developing nearly 30 real-world demonstration research projects trialling the targeted use of genomic sequencing in clinical practice. The learning objectives for this paper are twofold: to identify challenges facing leaders working at the cutting edge of new digital healthcare provision and; to identify the leadership required.
The Translation Science to Population Impact framework was used to design a semi structured interview schedule through phases of implementation; pre-adoption to sustainability. Twenty-five people working at service level or above with Melbourne/Australian Genomics were identified and invited to interview. Eighteen responded and were interviewed from December 2017 to March 2018. Data was managed with NVivo 11 software and coded thematically. Ethical approval was provided by Melbourne Health.
Participants identified two key challenges: 1) the overwhelming and rapidly changing knowledge-base required to use genomics in practice demanding a team approach; and 2) genomics is disrupting the traditional medical hierarchy; both of which have implications for perceptions which, for medical specialties, represent the coveted consultant ‘elite’ status. The need for humility, embrace failure, and for new approaches to knowledge gathering were reported as requirements from clinical leaders.
The leadership styles described do not map neatly onto a single leadership theory, aligning with both distributed and authentic leadership. Implications for leadership include the need to support clinicial leaders to make the move to team decision making and learn strategies about how to access knowledge as required.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAustralasian College of Health Service Management: 2018 Asia-Pacific Health Leadership Congress - Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, Australia
Duration: 19 Sep 201821 Sep 2018


ConferenceAustralasian College of Health Service Management


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