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There is often confusion between the Collaborative method and collaboration in general. The Collaborative method has a specific approach, which is user-friendly and simple. A Collaborative is an improvement method that relies on the distribution and adaptation of existing knowledge to multiple settings, to achieve a common aim.
For example, with the APCC Program, colleagues get together at a series of learning workshops. Participants exchange ideas, share experiences and learn about practical quality improvement skills, which can all be easily implemented using the successful Model for Improvement. Through shared learning, teams from a number of general practices work with each other and the Improvement Foundation to rapidly test and implement changes that lead to lasting improvement. To learn more about what's involved with this collaborative see The Collaborative Program.
The Collaborative methodology promotes rapid change, allowing practices to experience the benefits in short time frames. It works because it is straightforward, there is hands-on support, and the framework promotes 'protected time' (protected time is time specifically set aside for practice staff to focus on APCC Program work) for participants to spend together solving problems as a team.
Healthcare Collaboratives are built on a tried and tested method, developed in the USA , which has been applied to a wide range of management challenges. It was originally applied to healthcare systems by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the USA , and has been adopted in other countries, most recently and effectively through the National Primary Care Development Team, now known as Improvement Foundation, in the UK.
A Collaborative is not a research project, a set of conferences or a passive exercise. A Collaborative is about actually doing and improving.
Last Updated 11 March 2010