Interprofessional Collaboration and Patient Health Outcomes in Urban Disadvantaged Settings: A Grounded Theory Study
INTRODUCTION Interprofessional interventions improve the ability of health professionals to work in teams, communicate effectively, respect and appreciate each other, and develop shared patient-centric values. While these interventions can change attitudes and beliefs about interprofessional collaboration, the relationship between interprofessional collaboration and patient health outcomes remains poorly understood, particularly for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. This study sought to explore the relationship between interprofessional collaboration and patient health outcomes in urban disadvantaged settings.
METHODS Constructivist grounded theory methodology was used to perform 4 focus groups and 19 individual interviews with health professionals working in these settings in the United States. Emergent themes were developed into a conceptual model that captures their views on the link between interprofessional collaboration and patient health outcomes in these settings.
RESULTS 114 qualitative themes were identified and collapsed into 10 theoretical categories (interprofessionalism, building trust, coordination, facilitating sharing, patient care, enhancing reciprocity, common goals, effecting change, healthcare system disparities, and patient individual, group or population disparities), all of which were then merged into two theoretical concepts that explain all of the data (social capital and disparities).
CONCLUSION Interprofessional collaboration works via better coordination and optimization of patient care, which explains how better patient health outcomes may be achieved. However, it is social capital and its cognitive elements of trust, sharing and reciprocity that underlie this phenomenon and explain why better health outcomes may be possible via interprofessional collaboration. Additional research studies exploring patient perspectives and the structural elements of social capital in this context are warranted.