Interprofessional practice in different patient care settings: A qualitative exploration

J Interprof Care. 2018 Mar;32(2):151-159. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2017.1383886. Epub 2017 Oct 30.


Increasing interprofessional practice is seen as a path to improved quality, decreased cost, and enhanced patient experience. However, little is known about how context shapes interprofessional work and how interventions should be crafted to account for a specific setting of interprofessional practice. To better understand, how the work of interprofessional practice differs across patient care settings we sought to understand the social processes found in varying work contexts to better understand how care is provided. A case study design was used in this study to yield a picture of patient care across three different settings. Qualitative analysis of teams from three healthcare settings (rehabilitation, acute care, and code team) was conducted, through the use of ten in-depth semi-structured interviews. Interview data from each participant were analyzed via an inductive content analysis approach based upon theories of work and teams from organisational science, a framework for interprofessional practice, and competencies for interprofessional education. The work processes of interprofessional practice varied across settings. Information exchange was more physician-centric and decision-making was more physician dominant in the non-rehabilitation settings. Work was described as concurrent only for the code team. Goal setting varied by setting and interpersonal relationships were only mentioned as important in the rehabilitation setting. The differences observed across settings identify some insights into how context shapes the process of interprofessional collaboration and some research questions that need further study.

Keywords: Qualitative study; interprofessional collaboration; patient care; team processes; teamwork.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease / therapy
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Decision Making
  • Group Processes*
  • Hospital Rapid Response Team / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Physician's Role
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rehabilitation / organization & administration