Background: In 2011, World Spine Care (WSC) opened their pilot clinic at the Botswana Mahalapye District Hospital (MDH) aiming to develop a low-cost model of evidence-based spine care for underserved communities. Providing sustainable, integrated, evidence-based care will require buy-in from local healthcare providers (HCPs) and the communities served. The purpose of this project was to understand how MDH HCPs perceive WSC.
Methods: We used a qualitative descriptive methodology to conduct individual, semi-structured interviews with MDH HCPs who had some familiarity about WSC services. Interviews were conducted in English, audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. We used an iterative coding process for thematic content analysis and interpretations were regularly reviewed by all co-authors.
Results: In March 2017, interviews with 20 HCPs, from diverse disciplines with a range in years’ experience at MDH, revealed three overlapping themes: knowledge about WSC and spinal related disorders, perceived role of WSC, and challenges for WSC integration. Participants who attended WSC conferences or self-referred for care were more informed and, generally, held positive perceptions. Participants lacked knowledge about managing spinal-related disorders, asserted hospital protocols did not meet patient needs, and perceived WSC is ‘filling a gap’ to manage these conditions. There were mixed perceptions about care received as WSC patients; some ultimately obtained relief, while others reported the treatment painful and unfamiliar, discharging themselves from care. Challenges to integrate WSC into the healthcare system were: lack of knowledge about scope of practice and unclear referral pathways; reversing the isolated care WSC provides by increasing collaboration between WSC and hospital staff; and, high turnover of WSC clinicians that undermines program sustainability.
Conclusions: MDH healthcare providers had adequate general knowledge about World Spine Care and spinal-related disorders, but did not understand the WSC scope of practice nor referral pathways to and from providers. Participants advocated for greater collaboration between WSC and hospital staff to increase acceptance and integration to deliver spine care services and foster wider adoption of the WSC model, particularly if WSC expands services across Botswana. Future efforts that incorporate interviews with patients and government officials also can provide valuable perspectives to achieve sustainable, integrated, evidence-based spine care.
Author keywords: Botswana — Healthcare providers — Interprofessional relations — Organisational culture — Perceptions — World Spine Care
Author affiliations: MC, LO: Department of Chiropractic, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa; PMO: Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa; MAH: Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, USA; MAH: World Spine Care Research Team, Santa Ana, California, USA
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