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Scoping review of inter-professional teamwork theories in health care: Implications for policy, practice and research

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As theoretical underpinning is a priority for inter-professional teamwork, this scoping review examines theories for inter-professional teamwork in health care in the academic literature over the last 10 years. The review found 56 papers from 4 databases (CINAHL, Medline, Scholar's Portal and Web of Science) published in English. A content strategy approach was used to categorise the theories, interventions and outcomes. The literature revealed a trend moving away from single theories, into multifaceted theories. There were more papers on inter-professional education interventions, compared to interprofessional practice or organisation interventions. Many papers reported the importance of patient outcomes as the driving force for teamwork. However, there is a lack of evidence to support this notion. Further research is suggested on teamwork effectiveness, including measurement and evaluation of patient and system outcomes. Based on the scoping literature review, a conceptual model is developed to align interventions with theory to outcomes, which considers four broad theoretical perspectives highlighted herein (learning, social-psychological, organisation and system), interventions at various levels (patient, profession, micro, meso and macro) and measurement of outcomes. This framework identifies various theories, interventions and outcomes, which will help direct policy, practice and research in matching the right theory(ies) to intervention(s) and outcome(s).
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Keywords: conceptual model; inter-professional collaboration; inter-professional education; teamwork in health care; theory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2017

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