5.3.6 Collaboration

CollaborationThe preparation for collaborative practice involves developing knowledge and skills and exploring values.  When setting up an interprofessional team, it is helpful to begin with a common, accepted definition of collaboration.  Time should be taken at the beginning of the visioning process, and periodically, to clearly articulate what collaboration means and how it will be used in the delivery of patient care.

Collaboration is a key component of teamwork, the presence of which indicates that diverse health care providers located at one setting are not just sharing a space but are working as a team. Working with providers from various disciplines to deliver coordinated care is the cornerstone of interprofessional care.  An understanding of the defining indicators of   collaboration is foundational to meeting competencies for achieving interprofessionality.   

Meaning of Collaboration

Collaboration may mean different things to different people.  D’Amour, Goulet, Labadie, San Martin-Rodrigues, and Pineault (2008) conceptualize collaboration as a collective account that can be analyzed in terms of the following four dimensions:  1) shared goals and vision, 2) internalization, 3) formalization and 4) governance.  The first two are at the personal level, while the last two are at the organizational level. 

Shared goals and vision – common goals accepted by the team, recognition of differences in motives, definition and expectations regarding collaboration and patient care.

Internalization – awareness of interprofessional team members, their interdependencies and the importance of managing them, which fosters a sense of belonging, knowledge of each other’s values, and mutual trust.

Formalization – clarification of expectations and responsibilities in the structuring of clinical care and the appropriate use of information infrastructure.

Governance – development of leadership that directs and supports collaboration and innovation.

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