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Qualitative exploration of enablers and barriers to interagency collaboration from the perspectives of senior managers and executive staff

Authors:

Kathryn Costantino ,

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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Sally Hansen,

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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Erin Miller,

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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Janet Long,

Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, NSW, AU
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John Eastwood

Sydney Local Health District, NSW, AU
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Abstract

An introduction (comprising background and problem statement): The Healthy Homes and Neighbourhoods (HHAN) integrated care program, which started in 2014, was developed to address the complex health and social care needs of vulnerable families, which well exceeds the capacity of the public healthcare system alone.

Semi-structured, qualitative interviews took place with senior managers and executive staff from agencies which HHAN considers partners or potential partners.  An agency for the purpose of this study could be within a broader organisation.  The aim was to determine participant’s definition of interagency collaboration and explore enablers and barriers as viewed by them.  

Theory/Methods: Recruitment took place by purposive sampling.  Twenty-nine invitations to participate were sent by email to participants from 11 organisations.  In total, 13 interviews took place, representing 11 agencies from 6 different organisations across health and non-health in the government, non-government and charity sectors.

Using a grounded theory method, questions in subsequent interviews were guided by discussions had in prior interviews though strict coherence to the methodology was not achieved nor was saturation of themes.  A single coder thematic analysis of interview transcripts using NVIVO software occurred. 

Results: Achieving efficient, knowledgeable referrals (single client focus) between agencies was the most basic and common definition of collaboration.  Collaboration was also considered to include working together on shared projects and strategic planning to advance population health initiatives.

Reviewing enablers and barriers being described in the interviews, it became apparent that whether something was being characterised as an enabler or as a barrier was dependent on how the idea was being framed. 

Discussions: Comparative analysis to selected pre-existing literature will be presented.  As well as discussion on how awareness of this literature may have influenced data collection and analysis.   

Conclusions (comprising key findings): A grouping system of “themes” was developed, as follows:

Theme 1: Establishing and maintaining knowledgeable relationships

Theme 2: Diversity of roles

Theme 3: Business performance

Theme 4: Clear directive and supporting infrastructure

Theme 5: Organisational expectations

Lessons learned: The findings from this research appear to be available in the selected pre-existing literature.  This may demonstrate potential barriers exist in understanding how best to apply pre-existing knowledge.  

Limitations: The scope of this project was too broad to be able to achieve saturation of themes within a realistic time frame or manageable sample size.  As well, a single coder reduced rigidity of the study. 

Suggestions for future research: Another study involves interviewing frontline staff of HHAN.  Comparing the key findings of these studies may provide insight into similarities and differences these cohorts hold regarding interagency collaboration.

How to Cite: Costantino K, Hansen S, Miller E, Long J, Eastwood J. Qualitative exploration of enablers and barriers to interagency collaboration from the perspectives of senior managers and executive staff. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2019;19(4):86. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.s3086
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Published on 08 Aug 2019.

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