Integrating research, clinical care, and education in academic health science centers
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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.
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