Primary care physicians (PCPs) maintain high standards of medical care by partaking in continuous learning. The learning model of communities of practice (COPs) is increasingly being used in the field of health care. This study explores the establishment and maintenance of COPs among PCPs in Hong Kong.
Sequential, semi-structured individual interview and focus group interview were conducted to explore the purposes for partaking in continuous learning, as well as barriers and facilitators for attendance among private nonspecialist PCPs in Hong Kong. Data were drawn from the discourses related to COPs. Thematic analysis with constant comparison was performed until data saturation was reached.
PCPs voluntarily established COPs to solve clinical problems from the existing networks. Clinical interest, practice orientation, and recruitment of new members through endorsement by the existing members fostered group coherence. Conversation and interaction among members generated the “best” practice with knowledge that was applicable in specific clinical scenarios in primary care setting. COPs rejected commercial sponsorship to minimize corporate influences on learning. Updating medical knowledge, solving clinical problems, maintaining openness, engendering a sense of trust and ownership among members, and fulfilling psychosocial needs were integral to sustainability. Seeking secretariat support to aid in the logistics of meetings, enhancing external learning resources, and facilitation skills training of facilitators from professional bodies may further incentivize members to maintain COPs.
Autonomy of group learning activities, recruiting specialists and allied health professionals, training facilitators, and undertaking discussion in multimedia may achieve the sustainability of COPs.
Both Authors: Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.
Correspondence: Tai Pong Lam, MD, PhD, FRACGP, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong 999077; e-mail: email@example.com.
Disclosures: The authors declare no conflict of interest. The study was supported by a grant from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Health and Medical Research Fund (Grant no. 11121631). Both authors participated in the design of the study. M.K.P. carried out the interviews and the data analysis. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript. Ethics approval and consent to participate: Ethics approval was granted by Institutional Review Board of the University of Hong Kong/Hospital Authority West Cluster. All participants signed an informed consent form. Availability of data and materials: Raw data will not be available to protect the confidentiality of data and participants' identity. Consent for publication: Written consent to publish was obtained from the participants.