More than the sum of its parts? A qualitative research synthesis on multi-disciplinary primary care teams

J Interprof Care. 2008 Dec;22(6):587-97. doi: 10.1080/13561820802380035.


This qualitative research synthesis reviews interpretive scholarly papers on multi-disciplinary primary care teams. A bibliographic search was conducted in electronic databases: Medline, Embase, and the Web of Science Citation Index, and in the references of retrieved papers. The research consists of a taxonomic analysis of 19 qualitative studies about primary care teams published in peer-reviewed journals between 2001 and July 2008 in English and French. Nineteen qualitative studies were synthesized. Two major concerns emerged: (1) strategies for organizational change toward effective co-operative practice, and (2) dimensions of team interactions and work relations. The authors conclude that qualitative results suggest common strategies to improve the development of primary care teams, while identifying dimensions of team interactions that remain problematic. A fundamental aspect of team formation appears to be overlooked, i.e., the construction of a collective identity, which would involve the whole team in a shared ideal of co-operative practice. The adoption of discourse analysis is suggested as a more sophisticated qualitative methodology to explore this issue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research*