AimTo describe the process by which the 12 community-based primary health care (CBPHC) research teams worked together and fostered cross-jurisdictional collaboration, including collection of common indicators with the goal of using the same measures and data sources. BACKGROUND: A pan-Canadian mechanism for common measurement of the impact of primary care innovations across Canada is lacking. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research and its partners funded 12 teams to conduct research and collaborate on development of a set of commonly collected indicators. METHODS: A working group representing the 12 teams was established. They undertook an iterative process to consider existing primary care indicators identified from the literature and by stakeholders. Indicators were agreed upon with the intention of addressing three objectives across the 12 teams: (1) describing the impact of improving access to CBPHC; (2) examining the impact of alternative models of chronic disease prevention and management in CBPHC; and (3) describing the structures and context that influence the implementation, delivery, cost, and potential for scale-up of CBPHC innovations.FindingsNineteen common indicators within the core dimensions of primary care were identified: access, comprehensiveness, coordination, effectiveness, and equity. We also agreed to collect data on health care costs and utilization within each team. Data sources include surveys, health administrative data, interviews, focus groups, and case studies. Collaboration across these teams sets the foundation for a unique opportunity for new knowledge generation, over and above any knowledge developed by any one team. Keys to success are each team's willingness to engage and commitment to working across teams, funding to support this collaboration, and distributed leadership across the working group. Reaching consensus on collection of common indicators is challenging but achievable.
Keywords: collaboration; common indicators; cross-jurisdictional; innovation; measurement; primary health care.