A four-year, systems-wide intervention promoting interprofessional collaboration
Braithewaite, J and Westbrook, M and Nugus, P and Greenfield, D and Travaglia, J and Runciman, W and Foxwell, R and Boyce, R and Devinney, T and Westbrook, J, A four-year, systems-wide intervention promoting interprofessional collaboration, BMC Health Services Research, 12, (99) pp. 1-8. ISSN 1472-6963 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Background: A four-year action research study was conducted across the Australian Capital Territory health system
to strengthen interprofessional collaboration (IPC) though multiple intervention activities.
Methods: We developed 272 substantial IPC intervention activities involving 2,407 face-to-face encounters with
health system personnel. Staff attitudes toward IPC were surveyed yearly using Heinemann et alís Attitudes toward
Health Care Teams and Parsell and Blighís Readiness for Interprofessional Learning scales (RIPLS). At studyís end staff
assessed whether project goals were achieved.
Results: Of the improvement projects, 76 exhibited progress, and 57 made considerable gains in IPC. Educational
workshops and feedback sessions were well received and stimulated interprofessional activities. Over time staff
scores on Heinemannís Quality of Interprofessional Care subscale did not change significantly and scores on the
Doctor Centrality subscale increased, contrary to predictions. Scores on the RIPLS subscales of Teamwork &
Collaboration and Professional Identity did not alter. On average for the assessment items 33% of staff agreed that
goals had been achieved, 10% disagreed, and 57% checked neutral. There was most agreement that the study had
resulted in increased sharing of knowledge between professions and improved quality of patient care, and least
agreement that between-professional rivalries had lessened and communication and trust between professions
Conclusions: Our longitudinal interventional study of IPC involving multiple activities supporting increased IPC
achieved many project-specific goals. However, improvements in attitudes over time were not demonstrated and
neutral assessments predominated, highlighting the difficulties faced by studies targeting change at the systems
level and over extended periods.
Systems research, Action research, Intervention, Change, Interprofessionalism, Survey, Longitudinal