Collaboratives as an agent for change

Ms Jennifer Finch1

1Department Of Health, Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Background: Collaboratives are used widely as an approach to shared learning and improvement in healthcare, but how effective is this approach. In Queensland, a Collaborative has been formed between allied health professionals from health services and the non-government sector working across the central and north-west belt of Queensland, with the aim of improving a patient’s sub-acute journey and expediting care closer to home. The underlying assumption is that individual services will be more prepared to implement innovative models of care and create change if they can compare practice and share ideas collectively. This paper explores this assumption, and the value and role of the Collaborative in facilitating partnerships between health services and agencies and supporting change across diverse geographical locations.

Method: The Vic Health Partnerships Analysis Tool was used as a means of assessing, monitoring and optimising the effectiveness of the partnership.The Partnerships Analysis Tool was completed by Collaborative members at two different time points; early in the life of the Collaborative and as the partnership progressed and the inter-agency and cross health service relationships matured. Agreement with each of the statements in the tool was scored, based on an average of individual scores. Group discussions followed with Collaborative members regarding the partnership and relationships in further detail. These discussions were analysed for broad themes, with comparison of findings from the first to the second group discussion.

Findings: Preliminary findings suggest the partnership is working well with respect to the need for the partnership, planning shared actions, and ability to reflect on its ongoing role. Areas identified for further work include overcoming differences in organizational priorities and language, ensuring all member voices are heard and sharing information easily. All partners agreed there was value in continuing the Collaborative and the positive impact it was having on the sub-acute project itself.


Jenny Finch is a physiotherapist by background with a diverse range of clinical and health management experiences both in Australia and internationally, in less industrialised countries. She has an extensive background in health service development and workforce reform. Currently Jenny is working within the Queensland Department of Health Allied Health Professions’ Office and is supporting work related to the allied health expanded scope of practice workforce reform. In previous positions she has been responsible for leading strategy development for the allied health professionals at a health service and statewide level.

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