Comparing Electronic and Face-to-Face Communication in the Success of a Long-Term Care Quality Improvement Collaborative

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International Journal of Reliable and Quality e-Healthcare

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Researchers have long debated the effectiveness of electronic communication for getting work done in organizations, with many arguing that face-to-face interaction is key to high quality work and desired outcomes. Yet in healthcare quality improvement (QI) collaboratives, membership is frequently comprised of individuals from different, geographically dispersed organizations. This study examines the relationship between electronic and face-to-face interaction and the outcomes of a specific QI collaborative, the Empira Fall Prevention project in Minnesota. Outside of regularly scheduled meetings, the level of electronic communication reported by participants was associated with better outcomes in terms of reducing the percentage of new falls in facilities, along with other measures of effectiveness. In-person communication outside of meetings was related to subjective measures of success. The findings suggest ways in which collaboratives and members can leverage different modes of communication to maximize the benefits derived from participation.


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