Interprofessional collaboration regarding patients' care plans in primary care: a focus group study into influential factors

BMC Fam Pract. 2016 May 28;17:58. doi: 10.1186/s12875-016-0456-5.


Background: The number of people with multiple chronic conditions demanding primary care services is increasing. To deal with the complex health care demands of these people, professionals from different disciplines collaborate. This study aims to explore influential factors regarding interprofessional collaboration related to care plan development in primary care.

Methods: A qualitative study, including four semi-structured focus group interviews (n = 4). In total, a heterogeneous group of experts (n = 16) and health care professionals (n = 15) participated. Participants discussed viewpoints, barriers, and facilitators regarding interprofessional collaboration related to care plan development. The data were analysed by means of inductive content analysis.

Results: The findings show a variety of factors influencing the interprofessional collaboration in developing a care plan. Factors can be divided into 5 key categories: (1) patient-related factors: active role, self-management, goals and wishes, membership of the team; (2) professional-related factors: individual competences, domain thinking, motivation; (3) interpersonal factors: language differences, knowing each other, trust and respect, and motivation; (4) organisational factors: structure, composition, time, shared vision, leadership and administrative support; and (5) external factors: education, culture, hierarchy, domain thinking, law and regulations, finance, technology and ICT.

Conclusions: Improving interprofessional collaboration regarding care plan development calls for an integral approach including patient- and professional related factors, interpersonal, organisational, and external factors. Further, the leader of the team seems to play a key role in watching the patient perspective, organising and coordinating interprofessional collaborations, and guiding the team through developments. The results of this study can be used as input for developing tools and interventions targeted at executing and improving interprofessional collaboration related to care plan development.

Keywords: Cooperative behaviour; Focus groups; Health care team; Interprofessional Relations; Interprofessional collaboration; Multidisciplinary teamwork; Primary health care; Qualitative research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Comorbidity
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Patient Care Planning / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Care
  • Trust