Knowledge of Social Work Roles on Interdisciplinary Primary Care Teams: An Advanced Mixed Methods Study



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Driven by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, 2016), new programs like Healthcare Transformation Initiatives are being adopted by healthcare systems in the United States to improve patient health outcomes. Social workers are uniquely suited to address the psychosocial needs that often get overlooked in primary care. This study used an advanced mixed methods, qualitative + qualitative + quantitative design to understand the roles fo the social worker on the integrated primary care team and how knowledge of social work roles is related to interdisciplinary collaboration. A scale developed in the qualitative part of the second phase of this study was used to quantitatively measure knowledge of social work roles. This study identified a positive relationship between increased knowledge of social work roles and interdisciplinary collaboration. This study also found that as knowledge of social work roles increased, satisfaction with collaboration increased. These findings establish the importance of role knowledge on interdisciplinary collaboration. Additionally, as social work roles are diverse and often defined by setting, this study promotes the need for further research regarding the various functions of social workers in primary care. It further suggests that social work is in a unique position to make its mark on integrated primary care and further redefine its role on interdisciplinary healthcare teams.



Social work, Interdisciplinary, Collaboration, Integrated primary care, Role knowledge, Interprofessional education