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Determining the Reliability and Validity of the Interprofessional Team Functioning Survey
Presenter: Roberta Heale, Lorraine Carter, Patti Dickieson & Elizabeth Wenghofer, School of Nursing, Laurentian University
November 17, 2010


Background: Interprofessional care teams are a priority in primary health care in Ontario, but there is very little information about how these teams work. The Interprofessional Team Functioning Survey (ITFS) was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of primary health care teams.  The ITFS has the potential to provide insights into individual organization's strengths and vulnerabilities and point out areas for improvement.   

Aim:  To evaluate the psychometric properties of the ITFS and provide details about the optimal structure and effectiveness of this survey tool. The ITFS consists of 41 Likert-type questions and three open-ended questions.  The ITFS allows for measurement of four domains:  1. Factors that Affect Interprofessional Team Functioning, 2. Perceptions of Interprofessional Team Functioning, 3. Communication Within the Interprofessional Team, and 4. Discipline Participation in the Interprofessional Team.   

Methods: The ITFS was disseminated to community health organizations throughout Ontario from November to December 2009.  A sample of 192 respondents, representing all LHINs and a variety of health disciplines, responded. These responses were used for reliability and factor analysis testing.  Two focus groups, located at two community health agencies with respondents from a variety of health disciplines were conducted to determine the validity of the ITFS.  Revisions were made to the ITFS based on these psychometric evaluations and the re-formatted survey was delivered to a sample in early November 2010.

Results: Chronbach alpha score for the ITFS as a whole is 0.806. Reverse scoring complicates the reliability scores for the four domains, resulting in a range of α scores from 0.633 to 0.804.   The factor analysis results demonstrated that the survey mainly tests three factors and that 4 of the 41 questions were not congruent with any of the factors. The focus groups determined that the content of the ITFS is appropriate and accurately captures all of the issues that arise in practice.  The ITFS was revised so that questions were either eliminated or revised in response to the initial psychometric analysis.  The revised survey is 31 questions based on three factors.

Conclusion: The ITFS is a reliable and valid tool for the assessment of the effectiveness of teams in primary health care.  The minor revisions will further ensure the reliability and validity of this survey.

Implications for Primary Health Care: The ITFS has the potential to serve as the basis for a program that will assist primary health care agencies with the assessment of the effectiveness of their own interprofessional teams.   Issues that arise from the results of the ITFS may serve to inform health policy.

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