Oncology communities of practice: insights from a qualitative analysis

  • W. Fingrut University of Toronto
  • L. A. Beck
  • D. Lo St. Joseph’s Health Centre, University of Toronto
Keywords: Communities of practice, quality, collaboration, partnerships, knowledge management, knowledge preservation


Background A community of practice (cop) is formally defined as a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and who learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Communities of practice represent a promising approach for improving cancer care outcomes. However, little research is available to guide the development of oncology cops. In 2015, our urban community hospital launched an oncology cop, with the goals of decreasing barriers to access, fostering collaboration, and improving practitioner knowledge of guidelines and services in cancer care. Here, we share insights from a qualitative analysis of feedback from participants in our cop. The objective of the project was to identify participant perspectives about preferred cop features, with a view to improving the quality of our community hospital’s oncology cop.

Methods After 5 in-person meetings of our oncology cop, participants were surveyed about what the cop should start, stop, and continue doing. Qualitative methods were used to analyze the feedback.

Results The survey collected 250 comments from 117 unique cop participants, including family physicians, specialist physicians, nurses, and allied health care practitioners. Analysis identified participant perspectives about the key features of the cop and avenues for improvement across four themes: supporting knowledge exchange, identifying and addressing practice gaps, enhancing interprofessional collaboration, and fostering a culture of partnership.

Conclusions Based on the results, we identified several considerations that could be helpful in improving our cop. Our findings might help guide the development of oncology cops at other institutions.

Author Biographies

W. Fingrut, University of Toronto
Faculty of Medicine
D. Lo, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, University of Toronto
Division of Hematology and Oncology
How to Cite
Fingrut, W., Beck, L. A., & Lo, D. (2018). Oncology communities of practice: insights from a qualitative analysis. Current Oncology, 25(6). https://doi.org/10.3747/co.25.4088
Knowledge Translation