Facilitators and Challenges to Conducting Interdisciplinary Research
(Impact Factor: 3.23).
04/2013; 51(4):S23-S31. DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0b013e31827dc3c9
Complex, interconnected issues challenge the United States health care system and the patients and families it serves. System fragmentation, limited resources, rigid disciplinary boundaries, institutional culture, ineffective communication, and uncertainty surrounding health policy legislation are contributing to suboptimal care delivery and patient outcomes.
These problems are too complex to be solved by a single discipline. Interdisciplinary research affords the opportunity to examine and solve some of these problems from a more integrative perspective using innovative and rigorous methodological designs.
In this paper, we explore lessons learned from exemplars funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative.
The discussion is framed using an adaptation of the Interdisciplinary Research Model to evaluate improvements in individual health outcomes, health systems, and health policy. Barriers and facilitators to designing, conducting, and translating interdisciplinary research are discussed. Implications for health system and policy changes, including the need to provide funding mechanisms to implement interdisciplinary processes in both research and clinical practice, are provided.
Available from: Gustavo Fontecha
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ABSTRACT: Background: In Honduras, research capacity strengthening (RCS) has not received sufficient attention, but an increase in research competencies would enable local scientists to advance knowledge and contribute to national priorities, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Objective: This project aimed at strengthening research capacity in infectious diseases in Honduras, focusing on the School of Microbiology of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH). The primary objective was the creation of a research-based graduate program for the continued training of researchers. Parallel objectives included institutional strengthening and the facilitation of partnerships and networks. Methods: Based on a multi-stakeholder consultation, an RCS workplan was designed and undertaken from 2007 to 2012. Due to unexpected adverse circumstances, the first 2 years were heavily dedicated to implementing the project's flagship, an MSc program in infectious and zoonotic diseases (MEIZ). In addition, infrastructure improvements and demand-driven continuing education opportunities were facilitated; biosafety and research ethics knowledge and practices were enhanced, and networks fostering collaborative work were created or expanded. Results: The project coincided with the peak of UNAH's radical administrative reform and an unprecedented constitutional crisis. Challenges notwithstanding, in September 2009, MEIZ admitted the first cohort of students, all of whom undertook MDG-related projects graduating successfully by 2012. Importantly, MEIZ has been helpful in expanding the School of Microbiology's traditional etiology-based, disciplinary model to infectious disease teaching and research. By fulfilling its objectives, the project contributed to a stronger research culture upholding safety and ethical values at the university. Conclusions: The resources and strategic vision afforded by the project enhanced UNAH's overall research capacity and its potential contribution to the MDGs. Furthermore, increased research activity and the ensuing improvement in performance indicators at the prime Honduran research institution invoke the need for a national research system in Honduras.
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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) program in 2005 to generate, disseminate, and translate research to understand how nurses contribute to and can improve patient care quality. This special edition of Medical Care provides an overview of the program's strategy, goals, and impact, highlighting cross-cutting issues addressed by the initiative.
INQRI's leadership and select grantees discuss the implications of a collection of studies on the following: advances in the science of nursing's contribution to quality, measurement of quality, interdisciplinary collaboration, implementation methodology, dissemination and translation of findings, and the business case for nursing.
A comprehensive review of the scholarly literature published in 2004 and 2009 found that the evidence linking nursing to quality of care has grown. The second paper discusses INQRI's work on measurement of quality of care, revealing the need for additional comprehensive measures. The third paper examines INQRI's focus on interdisciplinary collaboration, finding that it can enhance methodological approaches and result in substantive changes in health delivery systems. The fourth paper presents methodological challenges faced in health care implementation, emphasizing the need for standardized terms and research designs. The fifth paper addresses INQRI's commitment to translating research into practice, illustrating dissemination strategies and lessons learned. The final paper discusses how the INQRI program has contributed to the current evidence regarding the business case for nursing.
This supplement describes the accomplishments of the INQRI program, discusses current issues in research design and implementation, and places INQRI research within the larger context regarding advances in nursing science.
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