Multi-Stakeholder Health Services Research Collaborations (M-SHSRCs) are increasingly pursued internationally to undertake complex implementation research that aims to directly improve the organisation and delivery of health care. Yet the empirical evidence supporting M-SHSRCs' capacity to achieve such goals is limited, and significant impediments to effective implementation are identified in the literature. This dichotomy raises the question, 'is it worth engaging in M-SHSRCs?' In this paper, we contribute to the narrative evidence-base by outlining key issues emerging from our substantial collaborative experience in Australia. Key benefits, challenges and mechanisms that may enable effective implementation of M-SHSRCs in other contexts are highlighted. We conclude that M-SHSRCs are worthwhile and succeed through significant financial, temporal and emotional investments.
Keywords: certification/accreditation of hospitals; external quality assessment; health system reform; implementation research; knowledge translation; quality improvement.