Primary care services have not generally been effective in meeting mental health care needs. There is evidence that collaboration between primary care and specialist mental health services can improve clinical and organisational outcomes. It is not clear however what factors enable or hinder effective collaboration. The objective of this study was to examine the factors that enable effective collaboration between specialist mental health services and primary mental health care.
A narrative and thematic review of English language papers published between 1998 and 2009. An expert reference group helped formulate strategies for policy makers. Studies of descriptive and qualitative design from Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, USA and Canada were included. Data were extracted on factors reported as enablers or barriers to development of service linkages. These were tabulated by theme at clinical and organisational levels and the inter-relationship between themes was explored.
A thematic analysis of 30 papers found the most frequently cited group of factors was "partnership formation", specifically role clarity between health care workers. Other factor groups supporting clinical partnership formation were staff support, clinician attributes, clinic physical features and evaluation and feedback. At the organisational level a supportive institutional environment of leadership and change management was important. The expert reference group then proposed strategies for collaboration that would be seen as important, acceptable and feasible. Because of the variability of study types we did not exclude on quality and findings are weighted by the number of studies. Variability in local service contexts limits the generalisation of findings.
The findings provide a framework for health planners to develop effective service linkages in primary mental health care. Our expert reference group proposed five areas of strategy for policy makers that address organisational level support, joint clinical problem solving, local joint care guidelines, staff training and supervision and feedback.
Narrative review; mental health services; primary health care; cooperative behaviour
Effective implementation of change in healthcare organisations involves multiple professional and organisational groups and is often impeded by professional and organisational boundaries that present relatively impermeable barriers to sharing knowledge and spreading work practices. Informed by the theory of communities of practice (CoPs), this study explored the effects of intra-organisational and inter-organisational boundaries on the implementation of service improvement within and across primary healthcare settings and on the development of multiprofessional and multi-organisational CoPs during this process.
The study was conducted within the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Greater Manchester—a collaborative partnership between the University of Manchester and local National Health Service organisations aiming to undertake applied health research and enhance its implementation in clinical practice. It deployed a qualitative embedded case study design, encompassing semistructured interviews, direct observation and documentary analysis, conducted in 2010–2011. The sample included practice doctors, nurses, managers and members of the CLAHRC implementation team.
The study showed that in spite of epistemic and status differences, professional boundaries between general practitioners, practice nurses and practice managers co-located in the same practice over a relatively long period of time could be successfully bridged, leading to the formation of multiprofessional CoPs. While knowledge circulated relatively easily within these CoPs, barriers to knowledge sharing emerged at the boundary separating them from other groups existing in the same primary care setting. The strongest boundaries, however, lay between individual general practices, with inter-organisational knowledge sharing and collaboration between them remaining unequally developed across different areas due to historical factors, competition and strong organisational identification. Manipulated emergence of multi-organisational CoPs in the context of primary care may thus be problematic.
In cases when manipulated emergence of new CoPs is problematic, boundary issues could be addressed by adopting a developmental perspective on CoPs, which provides an alternative to the analytical and instrumental perspectives previously described in the CoP literature. This perspective implies a pragmatic, situational approach to mapping existing CoPs and their characteristics and potentially modifying them in the process of service improvement through the combination of internal and external facilitation.
Communities of practice; Professional boundaries; Organisational boundaries; Primary care; Service improvement; National Health Service; CLAHRC; UK
Policies emphasise the importance of collaborative working in community palliative care. Collaborations are generally formed through formal and informal referral processes, but little is known about what influences professionals' decisions to refer to such services.
To explore the influences on referrals within general and specialist community palliative care services.
Design of study
Qualitative, multiple-case study.
Three primary care trusts in the north-west of England.
Multiple data collection methods were employed, including documentary analysis, observation of referral team meetings and interviews. This paper primarily reports data from interviews with 47 health professionals, including GPs, district nurses, and specialist palliative care professionals.
Judgements — positive and negative — about aspects of fellow professionals' performances appeared to influence referral decisions and ongoing collaboration and care. Attributes upon which these judgements were based included professional responsiveness and communication, respect, working and workload management practices, perceived expertise, and notions of elite practice. The effects of such judgements on referral and healthcare practices were altered by professional ‘game playing’ to achieve professionals' desired outcomes.
Palliative care policies and protocols need to take account of these complex and subtle influences on referrals and collaboration. In particular, teamwork and partnership are encouraged within palliative care work, but critical judgements indicate that such partnerships may be difficult or fragile. It is likely that such judgemental attitudes and practices affect many aspects of primary care, not just palliative care.
case study; interprofessional care; palliative care; primary health care; qualitative research
Methods: This was a qualitative naturalistic inquiry using an interpretative constructivist approach for 44 interviews with a range of ambulance staff. Stakeholder views on training and education were analysed and compared using the constant comparison method.
Results: Key emergent themes included: issues around prescribed programme entry levels and methods; the desire for a higher education curriculum with a balance between theory and practice; valid and reliable assessment methods; development of a supportive mentorship framework; an emphasis on self directed professional development with a focus on deskilling issues; and development of interprofessional collaborative links.
Conclusion: This thematic review suggests that this UK ambulance service is in a transition stage, with significant organisational, professional, and cultural challenges. The dichotomies, boundaries, and development issues are part of the development of an emerging profession for which it is essential that the educational agenda is addressed.
Qualitative research methods are increasingly used within clinical trials to address broader research questions than can be addressed by quantitative methods alone. These methods enable health professionals, service users, and other stakeholders to contribute their views and experiences to evaluation of healthcare treatments, interventions, or policies, and influence the design of trials. Qualitative data often contribute information that is better able to reform policy or influence design.
Health services researchers, including trialists, clinicians, and qualitative researchers, worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive portfolio of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the West Wales Organisation for Rigorous Trials in Health (WWORTH), a clinical trials unit (CTU) at Swansea University, which has recently achieved registration with the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC). Although the UKCRC requires a total of 25 SOPs from registered CTUs, WWORTH chose to add an additional qualitative-methods SOP (QM-SOP).
The qualitative methods SOP (QM-SOP) defines good practice in designing and implementing qualitative components of trials, while allowing flexibility of approach and method. Its basic principles are that: qualitative researchers should be contributors from the start of trials with qualitative potential; the qualitative component should have clear aims; and the main study publication should report on the qualitative component.
We recommend that CTUs consider developing a QM-SOP to enhance the conduct of quantitative trials by adding qualitative data and analysis. We judge that this improves the value of quantitative trials, and contributes to the future development of multi-method trials.
In 2003 Ghana introduced a social health insurance scheme which resulted in the separation of purchasing of health services by the health insurance authority on the one hand and the provision of health services by hospitals at the other side of the spectrum. This separation has a lot of implications for managing accredited hospitals. This paper examines whether decoupling purchasing and service provision translate into opportunities or challenges in the management of accredited hospitals.
A qualitative exploratory study of 15 accredited district hospitals were selected from five of Ghana’s ten administrative regions for the study. A semi-structured interview guide was designed to solicit information from key informants, Health Service Administrators, Pharmacists, Accountants and Scheme Managers of the hospitals studied. Data was analysed thematically.
The results showed that under the health insurance scheme, hospitals are better-off in terms of cash flow and adequate stock levels of drugs. Adequate stock of non-drugs under the scheme was reportedly intermittent. The major challenges confronting the hospitals were identified as weak purchasing power due to low tariffs, non computerisation of claims processing, unpredictable payment pattern, poor gate-keeping systems, lack of logistics and other new and emerging challenges relating to moral hazards and the use of false identity cards under pretence for medical care.
Study’s findings have a lot of policy implications for proper management of hospitals. The findings suggest rationalisation of the current tariff structure, the application of contract based payment system to inject efficiency into hospitals management and piloting facility based vetting systems to offset vetting loads of the insurance authority. Proper gate-keeping mechanisms are also needed to curtail the phenomenon of moral hazard and false documentation.
To identify collaborative instances and hindrances and to produce a model of collaborative practice.
A 12‐month (2005–2006) mixed methods clinical case study was carried out in a large UK ambulance trust. Collaboration was measured through direct observational ratings of communication skills, teamwork and leadership with 24 multi‐professional emergency care practitioners (ECPs), interviews with 45 ECPs and stakeholders, and an audit of 611 patients
Using a generic qualitative approach, observational records and interviews showed that ECPs' numerous links with other professions were influenced by three major themes as follows. (i) The ECP role: for example, “restricted transport codes” of communication, focus on reducing admissions, frustrations about patient tasking and conflicting views about leadership and team work. (ii) Education and training: drivers for multi‐professional clinically focussed graduate level education, requirements for skill development in minor injury units (MIUs) and general practice, and the need for clinical supervision/mentorship. (iii) Cultural perspectives: a “crew room” blue collar view of inter‐professional working versus emerging professional white collar views, power and communication conflicts, and a lack of understanding of the ECPs' role. The quantitative findings are reported elsewhere.
The final model of collaborative practice suggests that ECPs are having an impact on patient care, but that improvements can be made. We recommend the appointment of ECP clinical leads, degree level clinically focussed multi‐professional education, communication skills training, clinical supervision and multi‐professional ECP appointments.
emergency; ambulance; collaboration; leadership; team; communication
Nurses and other members of health care team provide mental patients with health services through interprofessional collaboration which is a main strategy to improve health services. Nevertheless, many difficulties are evidently influencing interprofessional collaboration in Iranian context. This paper presented the results of a study aimed to explore the context.
Materials and Methods:
A qualitative study was conducted using in-depth interviews to collect data from 20 health professionals and 4 clients or their family members who were selected purposefully from the health centers affiliated with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Themes were identified using latent qualitative content analysis. Trustworthiness of the study was supported considering auditability, neutrality, consistency and transferability. The study lasted from 2010 to 2011.
Some important challenges were identified as protecting professional territory, medical oriented approach and teamwork deficits. They were all under a main theme emphasizing professionals’ divergent views. It could shed insight into underlying causes of collaboration gaps among nurses and other health professionals.
The three introduced themes implied difficulties mainly related to divergences among health professionals. Moreover, the difficulties revealed the need for training chiefly to improve their convergent shared views and approaches. Therefore, it is worthwhile to suggest interprofessional education for nurses and other professionals with special attention to improving interpersonal skills as well as mental health need-based services.
Mental health services; interprofessional collaboration; challenges; Iran
Interprofessional collaboration among health care professionals yields improved patient outcomes, yet many students in health care programs have limited exposure to interprofessional collaboration in the classroom and in clinical and service-learning experiences. This practice gap implies that students enter their professions without valuing interprofessional collaboration and the impact it has on promoting positive patient outcomes.
The aim of this study was to describe the interprofessional experiences of students in health care professional programs as they collaborated to provide health care to Guatemalan citizens over a 7-day period.
In light of the identified practice gap and a commitment by college administration to fund interprofessional initiatives, faculty educators from nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy conducted a qualitative study to explore a service-learning initiative focused on promoting interprofessional collaboration. Students collaborated in triads (one student from each of the three disciplines) to provide supervised health care to underserved Guatemalan men, women, children, and infants across a variety of community and health care settings. Eighteen students participated in a qualitative research project by describing their experience of interprofessional collaboration in a service-learning environment. Twice before arriving in Guatemala, and on three occasions during the trip, participants reflected on their experiences and provided narrative responses to open-ended questions. Qualitative content analysis methodology was used to describe their experiences of interprofessional collaboration.
An interprofessional service-learning experience positively affected students’ learning, their growth in interprofessional collaboration, and their understanding and appreciation of health care professions besides their own. The experience also generated feelings of gratitude for the opportunity to be a member of an interprofessional team and to serve those in need by giving of themselves.
The findings support service learning as a platform to encourage interprofessional collaboration among students in health care professional programs. The research will inform future service-learning experiences in which interdisciplinary collaboration is an outcome of interest.
content analysis; interdisciplinary collaboration; service-learning; qualitative research
This paper investigates knowledge of Community Health Insurance (CHI) and the perception of its relevance by key policy makers and health service managers in Uganda. Community Health Insurance schemes currently operate in the private-not-for-profit sector, in settings where church-based facilities function. They operate in a wider policy environment where user fees in the public sector have been abolished.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted during the second half of 2007 with District Health Officers (DHOs) and senior staff of the Ministry of Health (MOH). The qualitative data collected were analyzed using the framework method, facilitated by EZ-Text software.
There is poor knowledge and understanding of CHI activities by staff of the MOH headquarters and DHOs. However, a comparison of responses reveals a relatively high level of awareness of CHI principles among DHOs compared to that of MOH staff. All the DHOs in the districts with schemes had a good understanding of CHI principles compared to DHOs in districts without schemes. Out-of-pocket expenditure remains an important feature of health care financing in Uganda despite blanket abolition of user fees in government facilities.
CHI is perceived as a relevant policy option and potential source of funds for health care. It is also considered a means of raising the quality of health care in both public and private health units. To assess whether it is also feasible to introduce CHI in the public sector, there is an urgent need to investigate the willingness and readiness of stakeholders, in particular high level political authorities, to follow this new path. The current ambiguity and contradictions in the health financing policy of the Uganda MOH need to be addressed and clarified.
Older people living in care homes in England have complex health needs due to a range of medical conditions, mental health needs and frailty. Despite an increasing policy expectation that professionals should operate in an integrated way across organisational boundaries, there is a lack of understanding between care homes and the National Health Service (NHS) about how the two sectors should work together, meaning that residents can experience a poor "fit" between their needs, and services they can access. This paper describes a survey to establish the current extent of integrated working that exists between care homes and primary and community health and social services.
A self-completion, online questionnaire was designed by the research team. Items on the different dimensions of integration (funding, administrative, organisational, service delivery, clinical care) were included. The survey was sent to a random sample of residential care homes with more than 25 beds (n = 621) in England in 2009. Responses were analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods.
The survey achieved an overall response rate of 15.8%. Most care homes (78.7%) worked with more than one general practice. Respondents indicated that a mean of 14.1 professionals/ services (other than GPs) had visited the care homes in the last six months (SD 5.11, median 14); a mean of .39 (SD.163) professionals/services per bed. The most frequent services visiting were district nursing, chiropody and community psychiatric nurses. Many (60%) managers considered that they worked with the NHS in an integrated way, including sharing documents, engaging in integrated care planning and joint learning and training. However, some care home managers cited working practices dictated by NHS methods of service delivery and priorities for care, rather than those of the care home or residents, a lack of willingness by NHS professionals to share information, and low levels of respect for the experience and knowledge of care home staff.
Care homes are a hub for a wide range of NHS activity, but this is ad hoc with no recognised way to support working together. Integration between care homes and local health services is only really evident at the level of individual working relationships and reflects patterns of collaborative working rather than integration. More integrated working between care homes and primary health services has the potential to improve quality of care in a cost- effective manner, but strategic decisions to create more formal arrangements are required to bring this about. Commissioners of services for older people need to capitalise on good working relationships and address idiosyncratic patterns of provision to care homes.The low response rate is indicative of the difficulty of undertaking research in care homes.
To examine if the free negotiable chain diagnosis treatment combination (DTC) will stimulate (cost) effective and well organised diabetes care by integrated care groups.
The chain DTC diabetes contains the care in accordance with the medical care standard of the Dutch Diabetes Federation. The care group negotiates the price of the DTC with the insurer. This should stimulate the professionals involved to collaborate as efficient as possible and the insurer to negotiate the lowest price possible.
By order of the Ministry of Health, ZonMw (The Netherlands organisation for health research and development) has carried out a program with 10 diabetes care groups, who have experimented the past two years with the chain DTC diabetes and with the organising of integrated care.
The program will be evaluated by the RIVM (The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) on the basis of quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data comprise the medical outcome and the organising process of integrated care. The qualitative data comprise open-ended interviews with involved professionals, insurers and patients about their experiences and satisfaction with this way of organising, paying and consuming integrated care.
The DTC has indeed facilitated the forming of diabetes care groups. The quality of care seems to be improved, the costs differ between the groups and the place of the patient in the care process differs as well. (Final results expected around November 2009.)
The chain DTC seems to be a good instrument for improving diabetes care. Applicability for other chronic diseases provokes questions about the total macro costs for chronic care, paying and organising care for multi morbidity and the transition between prevention and care.
diabetes; diagnosis treatment combination; payment system
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has funded nine Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs). Each CLAHRC is a partnership between higher education institutions (HEIs) and the NHS in nine UK regional health economies. The CLAHRC for Leeds, York, and Bradford comprises two 'research themes' and three 'implementation themes.' One of these implementation themes is Translating Research into Practice in Leeds and Bradford (TRiPLaB). TRiPLaB aims to develop, implement, and evaluate methods for inducing and sustaining the uptake of research knowledge into practice in order to improve the quality of health services for the people of Leeds and Bradford.
TRiPLaB is built around a three-stage, sequential, approach using separate, longitudinal case studies conducted with collaborating NHS organisations, TRiPLaB will select robust innovations to implement, conduct a theory-informed exploration of the local context using a variety of data collection and analytic methods, and synthesise the information collected to identify the key factors influencing the uptake and adoption of targeted innovations. This synthesis will inform the development of tailored, multifaceted, interventions designed to increase the translation of research findings into practice. Mixed research methods, including time series analysis, quasi-experimental comparison, and qualitative process evaluation, will be used to evaluate the impact of the implementation strategies deployed.
TRiPLaB is a theory-informed, systematic, mixed methods approach to developing and evaluating tailored implementation strategies aimed at increasing the translation of research-based findings into practice in one UK health economy. Through active collaboration with its local NHS, TRiPLaB aims to improve the quality of health services for the people of Leeds and Bradford and to contribute to research knowledge regarding the interaction between context and adoption behaviour in health services.
The paper combines the analytical and instrumental perspectives on communities of practice (CoPs) to reflect on potential challenges that may arise in the process of interprofessional and inter-organisational joint working within the Collaborations for Leaderships in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRCs)--partnerships between the universities and National Health Service (NHS) Trusts aimed at conducting applied health research and translating its findings into day-to-day clinical practice.
The paper discusses seminal theoretical literature on CoPs as well as previous empirical research on the role of these communities in healthcare collaboration, which is organised around the following three themes: knowledge sharing within and across CoPs, CoP formation and manageability, and identity building in CoPs. It argues that the multiprofessional and multi-agency nature of the CLAHRCs operating in the traditionally demarcated organisational landscape of the NHS may present formidable obstacles to knowledge sharing between various professional groupings, formation of a shared 'collaborative' identity, and the development of new communities within the CLAHRCs. To cross multiple boundaries between various professional and organisational communities and hence enable the flow of knowledge, the CLAHRCs will have to create an effective system of 'bridges' involving knowledge brokers, boundary objects, and cross-disciplinary interactions as well as address a number of issues related to professional and organisational identification.
The CoP approach can complement traditional 'stage-of-change' theories used in the field of implementation research and provide a basis for designing theory-informed interventions and evaluations. It can help to illuminate multiple boundaries that exist between professional and organisational groups within the CLAHRCs and suggest ways of crossing those boundaries to enable knowledge transfer and organisational learning. Achieving the aims of the CLAHRCs and producing a sustainable change in the ways applied health research is conducted and implemented may be influenced by how effectively these organisations can navigate through the multiple CoPs involved and promote the development of new multiprofessional and multi-organisational communities united by shared practice and a shared sense of belonging--an assumption that needs to be explored by further empirical research.
BACKGROUND: To adequately address the complex health needs of young people, their access to services, and the quality of services received, must be improved. AIMS: To explore the barriers to service provision for young people and to identify the training needs of primary healthcare service providers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. DESIGN OF STUDY: A cross-sectional, qualitative study of the perspectives of a range of health service providers. SETTING: A range of primary healthcare organisations across NSW. METHODS: Samples of general practitioners (GPs), youth health workers, youth health coordinators, and community health centre staff were drawn from urban and rural clusters across NSW. Focus groups and interviews were used to identify barriers to service provision and the training needs of service providers. Data were tape recorded, transcribed, and analysed. RESULTS: Barriers to service provision among GPs and community health centre staff included inadequate time, flexibility, skills, and confidence in working with young people, and poor linkages with other relevant services. Training needs included better knowledge of and skills in adolescent health requirements, working with adolescents, and working with other services. Barriers to service provision for youth health workers and coordinators included lack of financial resources and infrastructure. There were few linkages between groups of service providers. CONCLUSION: Models of service provision that allow stronger linkages between service providers, sufficient time for consultation with young people, adequate training and support of health professionals, and flexibility of service provision, including outreach, should be explored and evaluated.
Understanding the mass media is a prerequisite to gaining the cooperation of those who control access to media time and space to improve the coverage of health issues about which the public needs, and often wants, to know. To address the complexities of the mass media and how they influence the public's health, a group of Public Health Service agencies, foundations, and research institutions collaborated to review recent changes in the mass media and public health sectors and to recommend steps for increased interaction. These included broadening strategies to include paid advertising, media advocacy, and other tactics beyond public service campaigns; increasing awareness within the public health sector of the media's perspective on health; working collaboratively with media professionals and organizations, including the minority media; and developing guidelines for public-private sector partnerships. These recommendations, and factors affecting the roles of the media and public health communities in informing the public about health, are described in this paper. A complete discussion of these recommendations and related issues can be found in "Mass Media and Health," edited by Caroline McNeil and Elaine Bratic Arkin, a forthcoming publication of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Public Health Service.
Community collaboration in research may lead to better methods, results, and dissemination of interventions. Little systematic research has examined specific factors that influence community-based organizations (CBOs) to collaborate in public health research. There is an urgent need to advance knowledge on this topic so that together, researchers and CBOs can minimize barriers to collaboration. This study advances a CBO-focused characterization of collaboration in HIV-prevention research. By focusing on the perspectives of 20 key informants in 10 HIV-prevention CBOs, qualitative data revealed factors that influenced their collaborations in four domains: (a) Researchers’ Characteristics (expertise, availability), (b) Collaborative Research Characteristics (ought to improve services and CBO infrastructure); (c) Community Partner–Researcher Relationships (resolving social and professional issues); and (d) Barriers to HIV-Prevention Research Collaboration (cultural and social disconnect between CBO and academia). To reduce barriers, researchers ought to enhance motivators that facilitate collaboration. To use the advantages of community-based research, prevention scientists and policy makers ought to embrace CBOs’ characterization of what makes health research genuinely collaborative.
collaboration; public health research; HIV prevention; community-based organizations
We investigated the effects on collaborative work within the UK National Health Service (NHS) of an intervention for service quality improvement: informal, structured, reciprocated, multidisciplinary peer review with feedback and action plans. The setting was care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Theory and methods
We analysed semi-structured interviews with 43 hospital respiratory consultants, nurses and general managers at 24 intervention and 11 control sites, as part of a UK randomised controlled study, the National COPD Resources and Outcomes Project (NCROP), using Scott's conceptual framework for action (inter-organisational, intra-organisational, inter-professional and inter-individual). Three areas of care targeted by NCROP involved collaboration across primary and secondary care.
Hospital respiratory department collaborations with commissioners and hospital managers varied. Analysis suggested that this is related to team responses to barriers. Clinicians in unsuccessful collaborations told ‘atrocity stories’ of organisational, structural and professional barriers to service improvement. The others removed barriers by working with government and commissioner agendas to ensure continued involvement in patients' care. Multidisciplinary peer review facilitated collaboration between participants, enabling them to meet, reconcile differences and exchange ideas across boundaries.
The data come from the first randomised controlled trial of organisational peer review, adding to research into UK health service collaborative work, which has had a more restricted focus on inter-professional relations. NCROP peer review may only modestly improve collaboration but these data suggest it might be more effective than top-down exhortations to change when collaboration both across and within organisations is required.
collaboration; inter-organizational; inter-professional; quality improvement; respiratory disease
To examine the work of commissioning care for people with long-term conditions and the factors inhibiting or facilitating commissioners making service change.
Multisite mixed methods case study research, combining qualitative analysis of interviews, documents and observation of meetings.
Primary care trust managers and clinicians, general practice-based commissioners, National Health Service trust and foundation trust senior managers and clinicians, voluntary sector and local government representatives.
Three ‘commissioning communities’ (areas covered by a primary care trust) in England, 2010–2012.
Commissioning services for people with long-term conditions was a long drawn-out process involving a range of activities and partners. Only some of the activities undertaken by commissioners, such as assessment of local health needs, coordination of healthcare planning and service specification, appeared in the official ‘commissioning cycle’ promoted by the Department of Health. Commissioners undertook a significant range of additional activities focused on reviewing and redesigning services and providing support for implementation of new services. These activities often involved partnership working with providers and other stakeholders and appeared to be largely divorced from contracting and financial negotiations. At least for long-term condition services, the time and effort involved in such work appeared to be disproportionate to the anticipated or likely service gains. Commissioners adopting an incremental approach to service change in defined and manageable areas of work appeared to be more successful in terms of delivering planned changes in service delivery than those attempting to bring about wide-scale change across complex systems.
Commissioning for long-term condition services challenges the conventional distinction between commissioners and providers with a significant amount of work focused on redesigning services in partnership with providers. Such work is labour-intensive and potentially unsustainable at a time of reduced finances. New clinical commissioning groups will need to determine how best to balance the relational and transactional elements of commissioning.
Health Services Administration & Management; Qualitative Research
Several local attempts to introduce integrated care in the English National Health Service have been tried, with limited success. The Northwest London Integrated Care Pilot attempts to improve the quality of care of the elderly and people with diabetes by providing a novel integration process across primary, secondary and social care organisations. It involves predictive risk modelling, care planning, multidisciplinary management of complex cases and an information technology tool to support information sharing. This paper sets out the evaluation approach adopted to measure its effect.
We present a mixed methods evaluation methodology. It includes a quantitative approach measuring changes in service utilization, costs, clinical outcomes and quality of care using routine primary and secondary data sources. It also contains a qualitative component, involving observations, interviews and focus groups with patients and professionals, to understand participant experiences and to understand the pilot within the national policy context.
Theory and discussion
This study considers the complexity of evaluating a large, multi-organisational intervention in a changing healthcare economy. We locate the evaluation within the theory of evaluation of complex interventions. We present the specific challenges faced by evaluating an intervention of this sort, and the responses made to mitigate against them.
We hope this broad, dynamic and responsive evaluation will allow us to clarify the contribution of the pilot, and provide a potential model for evaluation of other similar interventions. Because of the priority given to the integrated agenda by governments internationally, the need to develop and improve strong evaluation methodologies remains strikingly important.
integrated; evaluation; delivery; complexity
Objective: To develop a framework for understanding factors affecting the use of patient survey data in quality improvement.
Design: Qualitative interviews with senior health professionals and managers and a review of the literature.
Setting: A quality improvement collaborative in Minnesota, USA involving teams from eight medical groups, focusing on how to use patient survey data to improve patient centred care.
Participants: Eight team leaders (medical, clinical improvement or service quality directors) and six team members (clinical improvement coordinators and managers).
Results: Respondents reported three types of barriers before the collaborative: organisational, professional and data related. Organisational barriers included lack of supporting values for patient centred care, competing priorities, and lack of an effective quality improvement infrastructure. Professional barriers included clinicians and staff not being used to focusing on patient interaction as a quality issue, individuals not necessarily having been selected, trained or supported to provide patient centred care, and scepticism, defensiveness or resistance to change following feedback. Data related barriers included lack of expertise with survey data, lack of timely and specific results, uncertainty over the effective interventions or time frames for improvement, and consequent risk of perceived low cost effectiveness of data collection. Factors that appeared to have promoted data use included board led strategies to change culture and create quality improvement forums, leadership from senior physicians and managers, and the persistence of quality improvement staff over several years in demonstrating change in other areas.
Conclusion: Using patient survey data may require a more concerted effort than for other clinical data. Organisations may need to develop cultures that support patient centred care, quality improvement capacity, and to align professional receptiveness and leadership with technical expertise with the data.
The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), a compulsory formal sector scheme took over the management of the Community Health Fund (CHF), a voluntary informal sector scheme, in 2009. This study assesses the origins of the reform, its effect on management and reporting structures, financial flow adequacy, reform communication and acceptability to key stakeholders, and initial progress towards universal coverage.
The study relied on national data sources and an in-depth collective case study of a rural and an urban district to assess awareness and acceptability of the reform, and fund availability and use relative to need in a sample of facilities.
The reform was driven by a national desire to expand coverage and increase access to services. Despite initial delays, the CHF has been embedded within the NHIF organisational structure, bringing more intensive and qualified supervision closer to the district. National CHF membership has more than doubled. However, awareness of the reform was limited below the district level due to the reform’s top-down nature. The reform was generally acceptable to key stakeholders, who expected that benefits between schemes would be harmonised.
The reform was unable to institute changes to the CHF design or district management structures because it has so far been unable to change CHF legislation which also limits facility capacity to use CHF revenue. Further, revenue generated is currently insufficient to offset treatment and administration costs, and the reform did not improve the revenue to cost ratio. Administrative costs are also likely to have increased as a result of the reform.
Informal sector schemes can benefit from merger with formal sector schemes through improved data systems, supervision, and management support. However, effects will be maximised if legal frameworks can be harmonised early on and a reduction in administrative costs is not guaranteed.
Financing; Health insurance; Informal sector; Merger; Reform; Tanzania
The new forms of organization of healthcare services entail the development of new clinical practices that are grounded in collaboration. Despite recent advances in research on the subject of collaboration, there is still a need for a better understanding of collaborative processes and for conceptual tools to help healthcare professionals develop collaboration amongst themselves in complex systems. This study draws on D'Amour's structuration model of collaboration to analyze healthcare facilities offering perinatal services in four health regions in the province of Quebec. The objectives are to: 1) validate the indicators of the structuration model of collaboration; 2) evaluate interprofessional and interorganizational collaboration in four health regions; and 3) propose a typology of collaboration
A multiple-case research strategy was used. The cases were the healthcare facilities that offer perinatal services in four health regions in the province of Quebec (Canada). The data were collected through 33 semi-structured interviews with healthcare managers and professionals working in the four regions. Written material was also analyzed. The data were subjected to a "mixed" inductive-deductive analysis conducted in two main stages: an internal analysis of each case followed by a cross-sectional analysis of all the cases.
The collaboration indicators were shown to be valid, although some changes were made to three of them. Analysis of the data showed great variation in the level of collaboration between the cases and on each dimension. The results suggest a three-level typology of collaboration based on the ten indicators: active collaboration, developing collaboration and potential collaboration.
The model and the typology make it possible to analyze collaboration and identify areas for improvement. Researchers can use the indicators to determine the intensity of collaboration and link it to clinical outcomes. Professionals and administrators can use the model to perform a diagnostic of collaboration and implement interventions to intensify it.
As advances in genetics are becoming increasingly relevant to mainstream healthcare, a major challenge is to ensure that these are integrated appropriately into mainstream medical services. In 2003, the Department of Health for England announced the availability of start-up funding for ten 'Mainstreaming Genetics' pilot services to develop models to achieve this.
Multiple methods were used to explore the pilots' experiences of incorporating genetics which might inform the development of new services in the future. A workshop with project staff, an email questionnaire, interviews and a thematic analysis of pilot final reports were carried out.
Seven themes relating to the integration of genetics into mainstream medical services were identified: planning services to incorporate genetics; the involvement of genetics departments; the establishment of roles incorporating genetic activities; identifying and involving stakeholders; the challenges of working across specialty boundaries; working with multiple healthcare organisations; and the importance of cultural awareness of genetic conditions.
Pilots found that the planning phase often included the need to raise awareness of genetic conditions and services and that early consideration of organisational issues such as clinic location was essential. The formal involvement of genetics departments was crucial to success; benefits included provision of clinical and educational support for staff in new roles. Recruitment and retention for new roles outside usual career pathways sometimes proved difficult. Differences in specialties' working practices and working with multiple healthcare organisations also brought challenges such as the 'genetic approach' of working with families, incompatible record systems and different approaches to health professionals' autonomous practice.
'Practice points' have been collated into a Toolkit which includes resources from the pilots, including job descriptions and clinical tools. These can be customised for reuse by other services.
Healthcare services need to translate advances in genetics into benefits for patients. Consideration of the issues presented here when incorporating genetics into mainstream medical services will help ensure that new service developments build on the body of experience gained by the pilots, to provide high quality services for patients with or at risk of genetic conditions.
In order to deliver effective care, it is necessary to organise interdisciplinary activities for older persons who suffer from depressive disorders. This paper evaluated the interdisciplinary team members' perceptions of cooperation in the discharge planning of depressed older persons based on the Chronic Care Model (CCM). A qualitative implementation design was used, data were collected by means of multistage focus groups, and a thematic analysis was performed. Three themes emerged: lack of effective team leadership in the community, the need to change the delivery system, and enhancing self-management support for depressed older persons as well as the participation of their families. It was concluded that nurse managers must find ways of supporting the depressed older persons by better structuring the care, increasing cooperation with organisational leadership, and creating an environment characterised by trust and mutual respect. Distrust can have serious implications for discharge planning collaboration. The development of a common vision of transparency in the organization is important as is a policy of change among leadership and in clinical practice.