Chronic heart failure

December 2010


Healthcare teams

A practical framework for integration

Volume 39, No.12, December 2010 Pages 969-971

Julie Hepworth

John E Marley


Delivering integrated team care is a major priority for many countries. In Australia this is a component of the GP Super Clinic Program but it is also a focus of the broader primary care sector. Explicit consideration of human dynamics and team process is often absent from the move to integrated team care.


To provide a practical framework that will inform the development and evaluation of integrated healthcare teams.


The Team Focused and Clinical Content Framework is an approach to building integrated teams. This has the potential to be used to monitor and evaluate team development and functioning. Both the framework and clinical pathways provide practical tools for clinics to address the need to build integration into teams.

Health policy worldwide has made implementing integrated team based care a priority. In Australia this has been through the Enhanced Primary Care Program and the Super Clinic Program.1 The United Kingdom has the Polyclinic program2 and Ontario (Canada) has Family Health Teams.3 Establishing integrated care clinics recognises the need for collaboration between professionals, agencies, providers and the people they serve, and poses a significant challenge to implement.4 An example of meeting this challenge successfully is the effective implementation of multidisciplinary team care that has been effected in Australia by Aboriginal community health services.5 Integrated care clinics aim to develop team care beyond simple co-location of healthcare providers, through implementing integrated practice together, rather than as a group of independent disciplines. The interdisciplinary function of teams works by members contributing from their own expertise to a team that shares information and works interdependently.6

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