Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2381/32596
Title: How collaborative are quality improvement collaboratives: a qualitative study in stroke care
Authors: Carter, Pam
Ozieranski, P.
McNicol, S.
Power, M.
Dixon-Woods, Mary
First Published: 11-Mar-2014
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Implementation Science 2014, 9 : 32
Abstract: Background: Quality improvement collaboratives (QICs) continue to be widely used, yet evidence for their effectiveness is equivocal. We sought to explain what happened in Stroke 90:10, a QIC designed to improve stroke care in 24 hospitals in the North West of England. Our study drew in part on the literature on collective action and inter-organizational collaboration. This literature has been relatively neglected in evaluations of QICs, even though they are founded on principles of co-operation and sharing. Methods: We interviewed 32 professionals in hospitals that participated in Stroke 90:10, conducted a focus group with the QIC faculty team, and reviewed purposively sampled documents including reports and newsletters. Analysis was based on a modified form of Framework Analysis, combining sensitizing constructs derived from the literature and new, empirically derived thematic categories. Results: Improvements in stroke care were attributed to QIC participation by many professionals. They described how the QIC fostered a sense of community and increased attention to stroke care within their organizations. However, participants’ experiences of the QIC varied. Starting positions were different; some organizations were achieving higher levels of performance than others before the QIC began, and some had more pre-existing experience of quality improvement methods. Some participants had more to learn, others more to teach. Some evidence of free-riding was found. Benchmarking improvement was variously experienced as friendly rivalry or as time-consuming and stressful. Participants’ competitive desire to demonstrate success sometimes conflicted with collaborative aims; some experienced competing organizational pressures or saw the QIC as duplication of effort. Experiences of inter-organizational collaboration were influenced by variations in intra-organizational support. Conclusions: Collaboration is not the only mode of behavior likely to occur within a QIC. Our study revealed a mixed picture of collaboration, free-riding and competition. QICs should learn from work on the challenges of collective action; set realistic goals; account for context; ensure sufficient time and resources are made available; and carefully manage the collaborative to mitigate the risks of collaborative inertia and unhelpful competitive or anti-cooperative behaviors. Individual organizations should assess the costs and benefits of collaboration as a means of attaining quality improvement.
DOI Link: 10.1186/1748-5908-9-32
eISSN: 1748-5908
Links: http://www.implementationscience.com/content/9/1/32
http://hdl.handle.net/2381/32596
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2014 Carter et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Description: PMCID: PMC3983902
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

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