Exploring interprofessional, interagency multimorbidity care: case study based observational research

Eileen M. McKinlay, Sonja J. Morgan, Ben V. Gray, Lindsay M. Macdonald, Susan R.H. Pullon


Background: The increase in multimorbidity or co-occurring chronic illnesses is a leading healthcare concern. Patients with multimorbidity require ongoing care from many different professionals and agencies, and often report a lack of integrated care. Objective: To explore the daily help-seeking behaviours of patients with multimorbidity, including which health professionals they seek help from, how professionals work together, and perceptions and characteristics of effective interprofessional, interagency multimorbidity care. Design: Using a case study observational research design, multiple data sources were assembled for four patients with multimorbidity, identified by two general practitioners in New Zealand. In this paper, two case studies are presented, including the recorded instances of contact and communication between patients and professionals, and between professionals. Professional interactions were categorized as consultation, coordination, or collaboration. Results: The two case studies illustrated two female patients with likely similar educational levels, but with different profiles of multimorbidity, social circumstances, and personal capabilities, involving various professionals and agencies. Engagement between professionals showed varying levels of interaction and a lack of clarity about leadership or care coordination. The majority of interactions were one-to-one consultations and rarely involved coordination and collaboration. Patients were rarely included in communications between professionals. Conclusion: Cases constructed from multiple data sources illustrate the complexity of day-to-day, interprofessional, interagency multimorbidity care. While consultation is the most frequent mode of professional interaction, targeted coordinated and collaborative interactions (including the patient) are highly effective activities. Greater attention should be given to developing and facilitating these interactions and determining who should lead them.

Journal of Comorbidity 2017;7(1):64–78


communication, interagency, interprofessional interactions, multimorbidity, collaboration, consultation, coordination

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15256/joc.2017.7.103


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    ISSN 2235-042X