International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticlePractice development and allied health – a review of the literature
Type of ArticleCritical Review of Literature
Author/sPatricia Bradd, Joanne Travaglia and Andrew Hayen
ReferenceVolume 7, Issue 2, Article 7
Date of PublicationNovember 2017
Keywordsallied health, healthcare, literature review, multidisciplinary, practice development

Background: Practice development is defined as a facilitated process that aims to promote person-centred and evidence-based healthcare. Practice development seeks to engage individuals at all levels of an organisation in order to create positive change. It embraces approaches that are inclusive, participatory and collaborative, but there has been a reported lack of multidisciplinary involvement in its application in practice.

Aim: While practice development has been widely adopted by nurses and midwives in New South Wales, Australia, there has been limited application of this approach by allied health professionals (AHPs). This literature review aims to identify published research about the application of practice development methods by AHPs across healthcare settings.

Methods: A database review was undertaken using the SCOPUS, CINAHL and Medline databases. The International Practice Development Journal was also searched. A total of 1,672 articles were identified. These were scanned and 413 articles were retrieved, with 55 shortlisted for in-depth review.

Results: After application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 15 journal articles were included in the literature review. Review of the studies identified four areas of primary focus: enhanced multidisciplinary teamwork; practice development frameworks and principles; practice development education and learning programmes; and clinical quality improvement and service delivery outcomes.

Conclusions: As the findings showed that there is a limited number of robust research studies on practice development involving AHPs, there are opportunities for the participation of AHPs in practice development and for the study of this involvement.

Implications for practice development:

  • There is an opportunity for AHPs to become more involved with practice development
  • Strategies to foster interest and grow understanding of the principles and methods of practice development for allied health are required

This article by Patricia Bradd, Joanne Travaglia and Andrew Hayen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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