Since it is the overall objective of the Enhancing
Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care (EICP) Initiative
to encourage more collaboration amongst primary health care providers,
the Initiative will devote significant resources to helping
professionals understand what collaboration means for them, in personal
terms. And so, as part of its consultation efforts, the EICP will begin
to expose individual professionals, regulators, government and health
association representatives to the real challenges and benefits of
On one level the EICP's principles and framework
will spell out options and ideas that could be useful in various
practice settings across Canada. The EICP principles and framework will
help to better define the relationships between clients/patients and
various practitioners, as well as how health care integrates with other
elements of the health system.
On another level, the EICP team hopes the
Initiative will begin to inspire real change at the grassroots and
system-wide levels. Until individual professionals decide to read a bit
more, talk to some colleagues and “test drive” the collaboration
concept, true interdisciplinary collaboration won't have the momentum
required to create change in the health system. Systemic change is also
required to support the adjustments and transitions that individual (and
groups of) practitioners are making. The goal is to have real people
having real experiences with collaboration, in a supportive environment.
anticipated that an awareness of the need for change will develop within
the primary health care community over the course of the EICP
Initiative. Through its work, the EICP Initiative will present viable
options and begin to create a positive perception of collaboration. All
this is groundwork for a time when the health care community will
determine how committed it is to really moving forward with change.
The EICP Approach to Change
The focus on change will be apparent in nearly all
of the EICP Initiative's endeavours. The EICP team has developed its own
change process model, inspired by some of North American's leading
change practitioners, primarily those who see change and learning as
comparable processes. Change specialists such as Anthony Dibella and J.
Gould who are engaged by the U.S. Healthcare Forum and Daryl Connors
(Leading on the Edge of Chaos, 1998), view change as a developmental or
evolutionary process. The EICP model borrows from other successful
change approaches used in other health and non-health environments too.
Specific strategies, tools and techniques will be developed by staff to
support the change elements of the EICP's ongoing work.
Key EICP change activities include:
A survey of stakeholders will be conducted to
establish a benchmark for their initial readiness for change.
A comparative literature review about
experiences in various jurisdictions with interdisciplinary
collaboration. (NB: This review offered considerable support in the
development of a first approximation of the principles and framework
that will eventually be the focus of the EICP Initiative. The review
also helped frame the workplan for the Initiative).
Facilitated consultations with stakeholder
groups including health care providers, patients, government and
As various versions of the principles and
framework are presented and tested with stakeholder groups, the EICP
Initiative will continue to keep the spotlight on change and the “human
side” of the change process. The Initiative will help stakeholders
identify the critical “change indicators”, or signals, that will
influence the primary health care practitioner to shift from the status
quo to a new paradigm of care based on interdisciplinary collaboration.
The Initiative hopes to encourage a leadership
culture among practitioners and their professional associations, with a
view to creating a more determined, shared vision of the change
process. That vision includes recognition of individual roles and
responsibilities, and respect for professional, autonomous clinical
Change is very personal and building consensus
takes time. Change is both a collective and personal process that
fundamentally is about sharing information and learning. The EICP
Initiative hopes to leave a legacy of solid research, a sturdy framework
for structural and personal change, and a positive learning environment
in the primary health care community. All that has to happen next is