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Establishing community-based integrated care for elderly patients through interprofessional teamwork: a qualitative analysis

Authors Asakawa T, Kawabata H, Kisa K, Terashita T, Murakami M, Otaki J

Received 21 June 2017

Accepted for publication 5 August 2017

Published 11 October 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 399—407


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Tomohiro Asakawa,1 Hidenobu Kawabata,1 Kengo Kisa,2 Takayoshi Terashita,3 Manabu Murakami,4 Junji Otaki1

1Department of Medical Education and General Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 2Kutchan-Kosei General Hospital, Kutchan, Hokkaido, 3Graduate School of Radiological Technology Gunma Prefectural College of Health Sciences, Kamioki-machi, Maebashi, Gunma, 4International Relations Office, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

Background: Working in multidisciplinary teams is indispensable for ensuring high-quality care for elderly people in Japan’s rapidly aging society. However, health professionals often experience difficulty collaborating in practice because of their different educational backgrounds, ideas, and the roles of each profession. In this qualitative descriptive study, we reveal how to build interdisciplinary collaboration in multidisciplinary teams.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 26 medical professionals, including physicians, nurses, public health nurses, medical social workers, and clerical personnel. Each participant worked as a team member of community-based integrated care. The central topic of the interviews was what the participants needed to establish collaboration during the care of elderly residents. Each interview lasted for about 60 minutes. All the interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and subjected to content analysis.
Results: The analysis yielded the following three categories concerning the necessary elements of building collaboration: 1) two types of meeting configuration; 2) building good communication; and 3) effective leadership. The two meetings described in the first category – “community care meetings” and “individual care meetings” – were aimed at bringing together the disciplines and discussing individual cases, respectively. Building good communication referred to the activities that help professionals understand each other’s ideas and roles within community-based integrated care. Effective leadership referred to the presence of two distinctive human resources that could coordinate disciplines and move the team forward to achieve goals.
Taken together, our results indicate that these three factors are important for establishing collaborative medical teams according to health professionals. Regular meetings and good communication facilitated by effective leadership can promote collaborative practice and mutual understanding between various professions.

Keywords: interprofessional education, multidisciplinary collaboration, integrated primary and community care, qualitative research, interdisciplinary communication, geriatric health services, Japan

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