A model and typology of collaboration between professionals in healthcare organizations

BMC Health Serv Res. 2008 Sep 21:8:188. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-8-188.


Background: 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

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Health Personnel* / psychology
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Interinstitutional Relations*
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Models, Organizational
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Perinatal Care / organization & administration*
  • Perinatal Care / standards
  • Quebec