July 2009

Marlies Hulscher
Loes Schouten
Richard Grol

Key points

  • Ensure that collaboratives are always evaluated to test whether collaborative goals have been reached.
  • Use the checklist while developing the collaborative to ensure that all aspects of a ‘good’ collaborative have been included.
  • Use valid effect parameters and reliable data when evaluating the collaborative and to compare the outcomes of collaborative participants with the outcomes of their colleagues in non-participating sites.
  • Pay attention to the organisational context within which the desired care is provided.
  • Aim to improve the organisation of care and to involve the team.
  • Use the checklist to explain the success or the lack of effect of collaboratives. Compare different teams within a collaborative instead of different collaboratives.
  • Integrate information on effects and determinants of success and gain insight into why some QIC teams are successful while others fail to change practice. Use this information to revise the collaborative strategy to improve its effectiveness.
  • More research is needed on the costs and the cost-effectiveness of collaboratives and the spin-off effects of collaboratives.

This report aims to describe the effectiveness of the Quality Improvement Collaborative approach by systematically reviewing empirical studies. ​

This systematic review describes the determinants of success and failure by getting under the skin of the collaborative approach to find what really works to improve quality. This ‘black box’ analysis enables the authors to detail the determinants for collaborative success. 

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