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Areas of Emphasis

EICP Research Plan

Research is at the heart of the Enhancing Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care (EICP) Initiative. In fact, the EICP Steering Committee made a commitment up front that its recommendations would be based on the best available evidence.

As a result, the EICP initiative research plan is designed:

  • To provide an overview of interdisciplinary collaboration in primary health care in Canada, including a literature review.

  • To examine the three core elements that affect interdisciplinary collaboration in primary health care nationally:

    • the policy context

    • individual providers and health service organizations

    • public health and social context

  • To provide a business case for interdisciplinary collaboration in primary health care.

  • To assess readiness for interdisciplinary collaboration in primary health care in Canada.

  • To lead to recommendations to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration in primary health care.

EICP researchers will cast a wide net that will include: an examination of definitions and objectives related to interdisciplinary collaboration; Canadian examples; cost-effectiveness issues; a gap analysis; and the impact of collaboration on patient outcomes.

Within the policy context, the research will focus on primary health care structures, provider payment mechanisms, liability and regulatory frameworks, and overall primary health care reform issues.

The public health and social context will include an examination of population health issues, public access to primary health care services, as well as public perceptions of primary health care.

Finally, an examination of population health issues, public access to primary health care services, as well as public perceptions of primary health care will provide more knowledge in the public health and social context.

Throughout the life of the EICP Initiative, individual providers, health service organizations, and their patients and clients will be asked to provide input about the state of interdisciplinary collaboration in Canada. Through consultations, on-line surveys and focus groups these individuals and groups will provide their insights about quality of life issues, public and professional attitudes and perceptions, job satisfaction, continuing education, and operational/system-wide issues.

EICP Evaluation Approach

The Enhancing Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care (EICP) Initiative is committed to tracking its progress in a systematic way so as much as possible can be learned from this important national health care initiative. Program evaluation provides that systematic approach and contributes to the success and accountability of large and complex projects such as the EICP Initiative. Program evaluation and monitoring help ensure that the goals, objectives and planned outcomes are met. A commitment to quality evaluation also asserts the importance of developing clear plans, inclusive partnerships, and feedback systems that allow learning and continuous improvement.

The EICP evaluation will focus on activities, processes and products that are intended to achieve the immediate, intermediate and longer-term outcomes of the Initiative. Immediate outcomes that reflect the objectives of the Initiative (e.g. increased interest and knowledge among primary health care practitioners about the nature and requirements of successful collaborative care initiatives) are expected by the end of the Initiative. Intermediate and final outcomes will be reached as a result of the momentum created by the Initiative; but represent targets that are well beyond the time horizons and initial mandate of the EICP initiative.

The EICP Evaluation team is working work closely with the Steering Committee and Initiative stakeholders to customize an appropriate approach to program evaluation for this Initiative. In these early days, the team has established the following three pillars for its work:

Collaboration, inclusion and participation: The EICP Evaluation team will work closely with the Steering Committee and other stakeholders to design the evaluation component.

Objectivity: The EICP Evaluation team will establish a rigourous and transparent mechanism for collecting readily verifiable data based on an approved evaluation framework.

Flexibility: The EICP Evaluation team will revisit and review its evaluation and monitoring strategy every six months to ensure that it provides for sufficient input from stakeholders and accurately reflects their situations and concerns.

EICP Change Management

Change and the EICP Initiative

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 change.

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.

It is 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 association representatives.

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 decision-making.  

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 change.

EICP Communications

Communications will be a key component of the work of the Enhancing Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care (EICP) Initiative.  Since the Initiative has a mandate to highlight innovation and best practices and to build a case for changes in primary health care, effective two-way communications will characterize the operations of the Initiative.  For example, the EICP team intends to keep all stakeholders � professions, health organizations, regulators, educators, governments and Canadians � apprised of Initiative activities and findings.

The hub of EICP communications will be the EICP web site at  The web site will provide reliable and timely information about �what�s new� and �what�s relevant� as the EICP Initiative consults and conducts research about interdisciplinary collaboration.  As well, the web site will feature interactive options that will allow health care providers, and all Canadians for that matter, to participate in on-line fora and surveys.  Via the web site, the EICP will be able to generate dialogue, gather information and data, and then share its learnings and knowledge.  Web site subscribers will also receive regular updates and an e-newsletter from the EICP Initiative.  Along the way, EICP communicators are committed to showcasing the health care providers who have a little or a lot of experience with teamwork and the concept of collaboration.

What�s New in EICP Communications?

  •  The EICP Initiative launched its interactive web site in September 2004.

  • EICP in the News!

  • A 12-minute DVD/video that introduces the EICP Initiative can be ordered from the Secretariat.  The DVD and video are available in both languages and are closed captioned for the hearing impaired.  Contact [email protected].

  • Check out the EICP Brochure.

  • Watch for the launch of our e-newsletter � Teamwork:E-news from the Enhancing Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Primary Health Care (EICP) Initiative




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