UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Macro and meso level influences on distributed integrated COPD care delivery: a social network perspective Hartford, Wendy; Asgarova, Sevinj; MacDonald, Graham; Berger, Mary; Cristancho, Sayra M.; Nimmon, Laura


Background Care guidelines for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) recommend an integrated approach for holistic, flexible, and tailored interventions. Continuity of care is also emphasised. However, many patients with COPD experience fragmented care. Discontinuities in healthcare and related social services are likely to result in disjointed rather than integrated care which can negatively affect patient health outcomes. The purpose of this qualitative study was to improve our understanding of, and how, contextual features pertaining to structures and processes of COPD integrated care influence delivery of care within patients’ healthcare networks. Methods We conducted individual interviews with 28 participants (9 patients, 16 healthcare professionals, and 3 spousal caregivers). Participants were recruited through the lung clinic at a city hospital in western Canada. We employed a social network paradigm to analyse and interpret the data. Results The analysis revealed an overarching theme of fragmented COPD care with two sub-themes: (1) Funding shortfalls and availability of resources, and (2) Dis(mis)connected communication pathways. The overarching theme depicts variations, delays, and discontinuities in patient care. The sub-themes describe how macro level influences and meso level shortfalls were perceived to influence the availability of respiratory care resources that contributed to fragmented COPD care. Conclusions Employing a social network lens drew particular attention to family physicians’ pivotal role in delivering community-based COPD care. While an integrated approach to care is recommended by care guidelines, institutional and organizational structures and processes, such as financial and communication structures, may inhibit delivery of integrated care. Thus, macro and meso level structures and processes have the potential to shape patient care by constraining family physicians’ purposive and communication actions necessary for facilitating an integrated distributed approach to care. We propose a context of care which fosters a context for family physicians’ delivery of patient-centered care. Integrated care delivery may improve patients’ wellbeing and alleviate financial constraints on the healthcare system.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)