Authentic Collaboration


During this busy season of school, conferences, and more for everyone involved in healthcare, I pause to think about what it means to work together. We all do it almost every day and I’d venture a guess that we all have experienced varying levels of quality in these collaborations. To formalize it a bit, let’s think of authentic collaboration. I found this extensive definition by Capacity Builders of Toronto that’s worth a quick read:

A well-defined relationship entered into by two or more different partners (e.g. individuals, organizations, networks) coming together from various sectors, groups and/or communities to achieve common goals. They are characterized by a commitment to building, nurturing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships; joint responsibility and accountability for success; and the sharing of resources and rewards.

Wow, that’s detailed! I would add that “well-defined” is often in the eye of the beholder and less-officially-defined collaborations are still relevant for the purpose of this discussion. What really jumps out to me is:

  • Commitment to building
  • Nurturing relationships
  • Common goals
  • Joint responsibility
  • Sharing of resources and rewards

Do we all work toward these key aspects in our everyday connections/collaborations? A collaboration can be as simple as two friends swapping baby-sitting duties as needed or as complex as several healthcare organizations working jointly to create a translational research center.

With so much time spent interacting online, many of us see the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to collaboration – both very formal and more informal.

The process of authentic collaboration applies most aptly to our patient-provider relationships as well. Ask yourself, do the five bullet points above match your key healthcare relationships? As a patient? A provider? As you can quickly see, any of these that are missing creates the type of relationship dynamic that isn’t ideal.

This week, I want to move beyond communication to think about working together. All of the myriad ways we come together and share, build, explore – ranging from a follow-up appointment with your clinician to the oncologist working with their research staff on a current trial. No matter what you’re sharing, it matters to understand how and why we collaborate – such as the online social media connection that keeps healthcare vibrant or the team building a mental health solution for at-risk youth.

This week on #hcldr, let’s talk about why and how we work together and what that means for healthcare.

Join the #hcldr community of professionals, patients, clinicians, administrators, lurkers, counselors, social workers, designers, and advocates! Please join us on Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016 at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1: What does authentic collaboration mean to you? Does it matter?
  • T2: In settings with traditionally greater power distance, does this impact authentic collaboration? Thoughts?
  • T3: Are #DigitalHealth & social media creating more authentic collaboration or just more connections?
  • T4: When faced with imbalanced collaboration, how do you fix it? How much is too much? Examples?



“Authentic Collaboration”

Accessed Oct 3, 2016


Image Credit

One comment

  1. whyresearch · · Reply

    What a WONDERFUL topic. Not sure if I can make it, but going to move mountains to try!

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