Professor Johanna Westbrook

Contact Details
+612 9850 2402

Research Interests:
Professor Westbrook is Director of the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research (CHSSR), Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI).  Her research expertise centres on the design and execution of complex multi-method evaluations in the health sector with a particular focus on the effective use of information and communication technologies. The CHSSR is the largest health informatics evaluation research team in Australia and the team's work is highly competitive with international groups. Research areas have included the first and largest population study (n=55,000) of clinicians' use of online evidence and its integration into, and impact on, work practices and decision-making. This work showed that clinicians actively seek online evidence to support clinical care which was much disputed until this work.  Professor Westbrook has led research on measuring the impact of computerised pathology ordering systems on organisational efficiency and communication processes. Recent research includes major observational studies of health professionals' work and communication patterns (including interruptions and multi-tasking), and identification of contextual work factors which may disrupt effective and safe work. A product of this has been the design and testing of highly innovative work observational methods and electronic data collection tools. A further area of research expertise is medication safety. This body of work has included studies of the role of interruptions in increasing the risk of medication errors and the effectiveness of electronic medication management systems to reduce prescribing and medication administration errors in hospitals. Recent studies have also been conducted on the use of information technology in the aged care sector. Professor Westbrook has an extensive publication record which includes over 300 refereed publications (h-index = 39, i-10 = 122). She has attracted in excess of $40M in research funding and won several awards for her research.

Broad Research Areas:
Medical Informatics, Health Services Research, Epidemiology

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

Specific Research Keywords:
Informatics Evaluation, Patient Safety, Health Services Research, Health Information Systems, Ageing, Medication Errors, Health System Sustainability

University role
Professor and Director