Interprofessional primary care team meetings: a qualitative approach comparing observations with personal opinions

Fam Pract. 2017 Feb;34(1):98-106. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmw106. Epub 2016 Oct 18.


Background: The number of people with multiple chronic conditions requiring primary care services increases. Professionals from different disciplines collaborate and coordinate care to deal with the complex health care needs. There is lack of information on current practices regarding interprofessional team (IPT) meetings.

Objectives: This study aimed to improve our understanding of the process of interprofessional collaboration in primary care team meetings in the Netherlands by observing the current practice and exploring personal opinions.

Methods: Qualitative study involving observations of team meetings and interviews with participants. Eight different IPT meetings (n = 8) in different primary care practices were observed by means of video recordings. Experiences were explored by conducting individual semi-structured interviews (n = 60) with participants (i.e. health care professionals from different disciplines) of the observed team meetings. The data were analysed by means of content analysis.

Results: Most participants expressed favourable opinions about their team meetings. However, observations showed that team meetings were more or less hectic, and lacked a clear structure and team coordinator or leader. There appears to be a discrepancy between findings from observations and interviews. From the interviews, four main themes were extracted: (1) Team structure and composition, (2) Patient-centredness, (3) Interaction and (4) Attitude and motivation.

Conclusion: IPT meetings could benefit from improvements in structure, patient-centredness and leadership by the chairpersons. Given the discrepancy between observations and interviews, it would appear useful to improve team members' awareness of aspects that could be improved before training them in dealing with specific challenges.

Keywords: Cooperative behaviour; interdisciplinary communication; interprofessional relations; patient care team; primary health care; qualitative research..

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Motivation
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Qualitative Research