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An interdisciplinary team communication framework and its application to healthcare 'e-teams' systems design

Craig E Kuziemsky1*, Elizabeth M Borycki2, Mary Ellen Purkis5, Fraser Black3, Michael Boyle4, Denise Cloutier-Fisher7, Lee Ann Fox5, Patricia MacKenzie6, Ann Syme45, Coby Tschanz5, Wendy Wainwright3, Helen Wong4 and Interprofessional Practices Team (alphabetically)

Author affiliations

1 Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

2 School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

3 Victoria Hospice Society, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

4 British Columbia Cancer Agency, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

5 School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Victoria British Columbia, Canada

6 School of Social Work, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

7 School of Human Geography, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2009, 9:43  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-9-43

Published: 15 September 2009



There are few studies that examine the processes that interdisciplinary teams engage in and how we can design health information systems (HIS) to support those team processes. This was an exploratory study with two purposes: (1) To develop a framework for interdisciplinary team communication based on structures, processes and outcomes that were identified as having occurred during weekly team meetings. (2) To use the framework to guide 'e-teams' HIS design to support interdisciplinary team meeting communication.


An ethnographic approach was used to collect data on two interdisciplinary teams. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data according to structures, processes and outcomes.


We present details for team meta-concepts of structures, processes and outcomes and the concepts and sub concepts within each meta-concept. We also provide an exploratory framework for interdisciplinary team communication and describe how the framework can guide HIS design to support 'e-teams'.


The structures, processes and outcomes that describe interdisciplinary teams are complex and often occur in a non-linear fashion. Electronic data support, process facilitation and team video conferencing are three HIS tools that can enhance team function.