Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coaching and Interprofessional Collaboration Project: Update from St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto

St. Joseph’s Health Centre is continuing to develop knowledge and practice base around interprofessional collaboration. A new project, Enhancing Interprofessional Collaboration through Coaching in Healthcare Settings aims to further develop and evaluate coaching interventions within health care teams. Expanding on work the Health Centre has already successfully studied in a Ministry funded pilot in 2006, this new project will look at coaching interventions of health care teams within the hospital and community health care settings.

The project will increase the number of “Coach Champions” within the organization, disseminate coaching interventions to all point of care teams at the Health Centre and enhance the Interprofessional Collaboration (IPC) curriculum content in a previously created coaching manual. “The coaches are interdisciplinary,” said Keith Adamson, Manager, Interprofessional Practice. “There are coaches from pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, social work, and we are hoping to include physicians.”

The focus is mainly on group work although a tool is used called an ‘electronic maze’. “It’s a tool that really helps participants understand their communication and teamwork styles,” explained Chris Daly, Project Consultant. “It is a fun exercise and people love to take part. It really does allow people to see how they function.”

The project will also facilitate collaboration with Parkdale Community Health Centre in implementing their IPC initiative across five teams and support them in the development of a coaching manual tailored to the Community Health Centre context.

The project will be evaluated using three methods: survey, observation and a semi-structured questionnaire. The survey will be given to participants before the coaching intervention and then one month after. It was constructed based on the literature about core collaborator competencies (Oandasan & Reeves, 2005) and the essential elements for collaboration (Way & Jones, 2000). “The survey focuses on six dimensions critical to interprofessional collaboration’” explained Adamson. “Those dimensions are trust and respect, communication, shared decision making, knowledge of roles, willingness to collaborate, and conflict resolution.”

An observation tool will also be used pre and post intervention, looking for evidence of the same seven dimensions in the survey. A semi-structured questionnaire will be administered post intervention for the collection of further qualitative data.

“Currently there are eight coaches and we are looking to train another 20 at various levels within the organization,” said Adamson. “By the end of this phase in March 2009, 350 people at St. Joseph’s will have been involved, and a total of 400 including our community partners. The whole idea of building champions internally is so that there will be sustainability once the project comes to its conclusion,” he said.

The Health Centre believes in building a firm foundation for Interprofessional practice and we look forward to reporting back on the successes of this exciting new project.

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