Improvement Capability at the Front Lines of Healthcare Helping through Leading and Coaching

University dissertation from Jönköping : School of Health Sciences

Abstract: SUMMARY This thesis addresses improvement capability at the front lines of healthcare with a focus on interprofessional health care improvement teams who provide care and improve care. The overall aim is to explore high performing clinical microsystems and evaluate interventions to cultivate health care improvement capabilities of frontline interprofessional teams.Methods Descriptive and evaluative study designs were employed in the five studies which comprise this thesis. A total of 495 interprofessional health care providers from a variety of health care contexts in the United States (Study I, II, III & IV) and Sweden (Study V) participated in the studies. The mixed methods research included qualitative observation, interviews, focus groups and surveys analyzed with qualitative manifest content analysis. The quantitative data were analyzed with statistics appropriate for non-parametric data.Findings Study I and II describe how leaders who understand health care improvement can create conditions for interprofessional teams to provide care and simultaneously improve care. Study III evaluates adapted clinical microsystem processes and tools successfully adapted in two different hospitals. Frontline staff reported that they needed help to balance providing care and improving care. Study IV and V explored and tested team coaching to help interprofessional teams to increase their improvement capabilities within improvement collaboratives. The participants perceived team coaching mostly positively and identified supportive coaching actions. In Study V an intervention with “The Team Coaching Model” was tested in Sweden and showed increased acquisition of improvement knowledge in the intervention teams compared to teams who did not receive the coaching model.Conclusions The thesis findings show leaders can help cultivate health care improvement capability by designing structures, processes and outcomes of their organizational systems to support health care improvement activities, setting clear improvement expectations of all staff, developing the knowledge of every staff member in the microsystem to know their operational processes and systems to promote action learning in their daily work, and providing help with team coaching using a Team Coaching Model.