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Using clinical governance levers to support change in a cancer care reform

Isabelle Brault (Faculty of Nursing, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Jean-Louis Denis (École Nationale d'Administration Publique, Montreal, Canada)
Terrence James Sullivan (Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada and The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 15 June 2015




Introducing change is a difficult issue facing all health care systems. The use of various clinical governance levers can facilitate change in health care systems. The purpose of this paper is to define clinical governance levers, and to illustrate their use in a large-scale transformation.


The empirical analysis deals with the in-depth study of a specific case, which is the organizational model for Ontario’s cancer sector. The authors used a qualitative research strategy and drew the data from three sources: semi-structured interviews, analysis of documents, and non-participative observations.


From the results, the authors identified three phases and several steps in the reform of cancer services in this province. The authors conclude that a combination of clinical governance levers was used to transform the system. These levers operated at different levels of the system to meet the targeted objectives.

Practical implications

To exercise clinical governance, managers need to acquire new competencies. Mobilizing clinical governance levers requires in-depth understanding of the role and scope of clinical governance levers.


This study provides a better understanding of clinical governance levers. Clinical governance levers are used to implement an organizational environment that is conducive to developing clinical practice, as well as to act directly on practices to improve quality of care.



The study benefits from the financial contributions for a Doctoral fellowship from the Centre Ferasi, Training and Expertise in Nursing Administration Services and the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé.


Brault, I., Denis, J.-L. and Sullivan, T.J. (2015), "Using clinical governance levers to support change in a cancer care reform", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 482-497.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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