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Integrating research, clinical care, and education in academic health science centers: An organizational model of collaborative workplace learning

Gillian King (Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, Canada) (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Nicole Thomson (Sinai Health System, Toronto, Canada) (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Mitchell Rothstein (Western University, London, Canada)
Shauna Kingsnorth (Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, Canada) (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Kathryn Parker (Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, Canada) (University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 10 October 2016

Abstract

Purpose

One of the major issues faced by academic health science centers (AHSCs) is the need for mechanisms to foster the integration of research, clinical, and educational activities to achieve the vision of evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) and optimal client care. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper synthesizes literature on organizational learning and collaboration, evidence-informed organizational decision making, and learning-based organizations to derive insights concerning the nature of effective workplace learning in AHSCs.

Findings

An evidence-informed model of collaborative workplace learning is proposed to aid the alignment of research, clinical, and educational functions in AHSCs. The model articulates relationships among AHSC academic functions and sub-functions, cross-functional activities, and collaborative learning processes, emphasizing the importance of cross-functional activities in enhancing collaborative learning processes and optimizing EIDM and client care. Cross-functional activities involving clinicians, researchers, and educators are hypothesized to be a primary vehicle for integration, supported by a learning-oriented workplace culture. These activities are distinct from interprofessional teams, which are clinical in nature. Four collaborative learning processes are specified that are enhanced in cross-functional activities or teamwork: co-constructing meaning, co-learning, co-producing knowledge, and co-using knowledge.

Practical implications

The model provides an aspirational vision and insight into the importance of cross-functional activities in enhancing workplace learning. The paper discusses the conceptual and empirical basis to the model, its contributions and limitations, and implications for AHSCs.

Originality/value

The model’s potential utility for health care is discussed, with implications for organizational culture and the promotion of cross-functional activities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the efforts and support of the authors’ colleagues at Holland Bloorview, including Keith Adamson and Diane Savage. The authors thank Freda Goh for her assistance with the visual representation of the model. The authors also thank an anonymous reviewer for his/her insights and constructive suggestions. Gillian King holds the Canada Research Chair in Optimal Care for Children with Disabilities, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Citation

King, G., Thomson, N., Rothstein, M., Kingsnorth, S. and Parker, K. (2016), "Integrating research, clinical care, and education in academic health science centers: An organizational model of collaborative workplace learning", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 1140-1160. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-11-2015-0177

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited