BACKGROUND: Workplace-based knowledge exchange programmes (WKEPs), such as job shadowing or secondments, offer potential for health and care providers, academics, and policy-makers to foster partnerships, develop local solutions and overcome key differences in practices. Yet opportunities for exchange can be hard to find and are poorly reported in the literature.
OBJECTIVES: To understand the views of providers, academics and policy-makers regarding WKEPs, in particular, their motivations to participate in such exchanges and the perceived barriers and facilitators to participation.
METHODS: A qualitative study involving semistructured interviews with 20 healthcare providers, academics and policy-makers in England. Rapid data collection and analysis techniques were employed. Interviews formed part of a wider scoping study that mapped the characteristics and existing literature related to WKEPs.
RESULTS: Interviewees reported being motivated to develop, sponsor and/or participate in WKEPs with a clear purpose and defined outcomes that could demonstrate the value of the time out of work to their organisations. Perceived barriers included competitive application processes for national fellowships, a lack of knowing how to identify with whom to undertake an exchange (varying 'tribes'), and the burdens of time, costs and administration regarding arranging exchanges. WKEPs were reported to work best where there was a perceived sense of shared purpose, long-standing relationship and trust between organisations. Facilitators included existing confidentiality agreements and/or shared professional standards, as well as funding.
CONCLUSION: WKEPs were reported to be valuable experiences but required significant organisational buy-in and cooperation to arrange and sustain. To benefit emerging partnerships, such as the new integrated care systems in England, more outcomes evaluations of existing WKEPs are needed, and research focused on overcoming barriers to participation, such as time and costs.
- Edge Hill Primary and Integrated Care Research Centre