Enhancing Provider Engagement in Practice Improvement: A Conceptual Framework

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Abstract

Engaging individual members of clinical teams in practice improvement initiatives is a challenge. In this commentary, we first summarize evidence supporting enhanced practitioner engagement through the creation of a work environment that builds on mutually respectful relationships and valued interdependencies. We then propose a phased, collaborative process that employs practice talk, a term that describes naturally occurring, collegial conversations among members of clinical teams. Planned interactions among team members, facilitated by individuals trained in dialogic techniques, enable health care providers and support staff to share their experiences and expertise, agree on what improvements they would like to make, and test the success of these changes. Participants would be encouraged to express their own suggestions for better practice and disclose strategies that are already working. Dissent would be regarded as an opportunity rather than a barrier. Iterative, sense-making conversations would generate a shared vision, enabling team members to engage in the entire process. Given that practice improvement ultimately depends on frontline providers, we encourage the exploration of innovative engagement strategies that will enable entire clinical teams to develop the collaborative learning skills needed to accomplish their goals.

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