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Imogen Mitchell

2013-14 Harkness Fellow Director and Senior Staff Specialist Intensive Care Unit The Canberra Hospital Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Admissions, Medical School Australian National University

Harkness Project Title: Have the Aims of Voluntary Incident Reporting Succeeded? Lessons for the Future 

Mentor: Albert W. Wu, M.D. (Johns Hopkins University)

Placement: Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship:  Imogen Mitchell, M.B.B.S., a 2013-14 Australian Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice, is the director of the intensive care unit at the Canberra Hospital, a position she has held for the last 13 years. She is also an associate professor and the associate dean of admissions at the Australian National University Medical School. Mitchell has been active in the U.K. and Australian public health systems since 1990, serving in the United Kingdom as a surgeon, senior house officer, and registrar at various hospitals and in Australia as a senior registrar and staff specialist. Imogen is a nationally and internationally recognized clinical and health systems researcher, specifically in the development of sustainable processes to manage patient deterioration and the early mobilization of intensive care patients. She was deeply involved in the development of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s national consensus statement for recognizing and responding to clinical deterioration. She has presented on these topics at numerous meetings and is author of 27 peer-reviewed journal articles. Mitchell holds an M.B.B.S. from Charing Cross & Westminster Medical School, University of London, and a graduate certificate of education studies from the University of Sydney.

Project: Mitchell will investigate how patient safety reports are being used and whether they are leading to changes in the delivery of care. Patient safety incident reporting systems are growing widespread in U.S. hospitals, either to satisfy legislative or accreditation requirements, but the link between such systems and safer care has been hard to demonstrate. Mitchell will conduct a 5-year retrospective analysis tracking patient safety reports at John Hopkins Hospital, exploring what actions result from them and, if possible, whether there was any impact on health outcomes. She will also conduct a parallel qualitative study of 20 health care workers on the enablers and barriers to completing patient safety incident reports.

Career Activity since Fellowship:

  • Deputy Dean, Australian National University Medical School
  • Dean, Australian National University Medical School

Current Positions: (updated 04/2017)

  • Dean, Australian National University Medical School
  • Professor, Australian National University
  • Intensive Care Specialist, Canberra Hospital

E-mail: [email protected]


Hargreaves D, Greaves F, Levay C, Mitchell I, Koch U, Esch T, Denny S, Frich J, Struijs J, Sheikh A. “Comparison of healthcare experience and access between young and older adults in 11 high-income countries,” J Adolesc Health. 2015.

Mitchell I, Schuster A, Smith K, et al. "Patient safety reporting:a qualitative study of thoughts and perceptions of experts 15 years after ‘To Err is Human’." BMJ Qual Saf. 2015.