Dr Susan Wells



Sue is a Public Health Physician with a background of 10 years as a general practitioner and currently works in Quality Improvement and Health Innovation within the Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is a member of EPIQ (www.epiq.co.nz), an in-house group undertaking postgraduate and undergraduate teaching, research and consultancies in evidence based healthcare, health informatics and quality improvement. Her key research interests are cardiovascular epidemiology, risk communication and patient access to electronic medical records via portals/personal Health records. Since 2002, she has been the clinical project leader of a primary care web-based decision support programme of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management, PREDICT. The content of the programme is based on New Zealand guidelines for cardiovascular risk assessment and management and the management of type 2 diabetes. With Health Research Council funding she is the co-principal investigator of the HRC-PREDICT project that has developed a large CVD risk prediction cohort (>400,000 people) through the use of PREDICT in primary and secondary care services. In 2008, Sue and Dr Andrew Kerr (Head of Cardiology, Middlemore Hospital) designed the Your Heart Forecast tool. With funding by the Heart Foundation, this was developed by IT specialists at Enigma Publishing Limited. This tool supports CVD risk communication between doctors and nurses and their patients using a graphic story.

In 2012/13 Sue was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy and Practice and based at Harvard Medical School/Partners Health Care and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Her US research investigated patient engagement in health and interaction with services via patient portals. These provide patients with secure on-line access to their electronic health records and healthcare team and are new technologies for New Zealand. In 2014, she was appointed e-health Ambassador for patient portals by the Minister of Health.


Research | Current

Research interests

  • primary care
  • Quality improvement
  • Cardiovascular epidemiology
  • Computerised decision support systems
  • Health Informatics: patient portals

Teaching | Current

Academic leader of postgraduate MPH course POPHLTH 724 Quality in Health Care, University of Auckland

5th year medicine:  Quality Improvement, course assessment

6th year medicine: Quality Improvement project in partnership Department of O &G and clinical leaders at eight regional hospitals (Auckland City, Middlemore, NorthShore, Waitakere, Whangarei, Waikato, Rotorua, Tauranga). Assessor of all QI projects.



2014 Minister of Health Appointed e-Health Ambassador for Patient Portals

2012 New Zealand Harkness Fellowship in Health Policy and Practice for 2012/2113

Areas of expertise

  • Clinical epidemiology and evidence-based healthcare
  • Cardiovascular epidemiology
  • Computerised decision support systems
  • Quality improvement
  • Health Informatics: patient portals

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2015 Mentor for University of Auckland Women in Leadership Programme

2014 Senior Advisor to Canterbury District Health Board Patient Portal Project

2014 Chair RNZCGP Expert Advisory Group for Patient Portals

2014  National Heart Foundation Scientific Committee

2013 New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine Education and Training Committee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Poppe, K. K., Doughty, R. N., Harwood, M., Barber, P. A., Harrison, J., Jackson, R., & Wells, S. (2018). Identification, risk assessment, and management of patients with atrial fibrillation in a large primary care cohort. International journal of cardiology, 254, 119-124. 10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.11.045
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alan Barber, Katrina Poppe, Rob Doughty, Matire Harwood, Jeff Harrison
  • Grey, C., Jackson, R., Wells, S., Wu, B., Poppe, K., White, H., ... Kerr, A. J. (2018). First and recurrent ischaemic heart disease events continue to decline in New Zealand, 2005-2015. Heart (British Cardiac Society), 104 (1), 51-57. 10.1136/heartjnl-2017-311613
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Billy Wu, Rodney Jackson, Corina Grey, Katrina Poppe, Andrew Kerr
  • Wells, S. (2017). The journey of patient portals in New Zealand general practice: early learnings and key challenges. JOURNAL OF PRIMARY HEALTH CARE, 9 (4), 237-239. 10.1071/HCv9n4_ED2
  • Wise, M., Kool, B., Sadler, L., Peiris-John, R., Robb, G., & Wells, S. (2017). Teaching quality improvement to medical students: over a decade of experience. The New Zealand medical journal, 130 (1466), 45-52.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bridget Kool, Roshini Peiris-John
  • Robb, G., Stolarek, I., Wells, S., & Bohm, G. (2017). The state of quality improvement and patient safety teaching in health professional education in New Zealand. The New Zealand medical journal, 130 (1464), 13-24.
  • Wells, S., Tamir, O., Gray, J., Naidoo, D., Bekhit, M., & Goldmann, D. (2017). Are quality improvement collaboratives effective? A systematic review. BMJ quality & safety10.1136/bmjqs-2017-006926
  • Robinson, T., Jackson, R., Wells, S., Kerr, A., & Marshall, R. (2017). An observational study of how clinicians use cardiovascular risk assessment to inform statin prescribing decisions. The New Zealand medical journal, 130 (1463), 28-38.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rodney Jackson, Tom Robinson, Roger Marshall, Andrew Kerr
  • Jones, P., Wells, S., & Ameratunga, S. (2017). Towards a best measure of emergency department crowding: Lessons from current Australasian practice. Emergency medicine Australasia : EMA10.1111/1742-6723.12868
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Jones, Shanthi Ameratunga

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