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  • Better Clinical Decision Making: Research Project

    Author: Health Times

Griffith University researcher Michelle parker-Tomlin is undertaking research into the clinical decision making process, and clinical and allied health professionals are sought to participate and contribute to this exciting research initiative.  There are a range of participation benefits and incentives including CPD points.

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I am currently a provisional psychologist, and PhD student in Clinical Psychology at Griffith University.  Associate Professor Shirley Morrissey and Dr Mark Boschen are my research supervisors, with Simon Langston, Director of Psychology Gold Coast University Hospital, as my Queensland Health Collaborator.  My research focus is clinical decision making and health related interprofessional collaborative practice. 

Brief Summary of Research

Clinical reasoning is one of the most important skills required for health practitioners.  Being able to explain, justify, and work collaboratively within interprofessional settings around clinical decisions is paramount to successful intervention planning for patient care.  The aim of this project is to examine medical and health professionals’ clinical reasoning, and factors that may influence this, to improve understanding of decision making processes, and to enhance communication, and collaboration within interprofessional teams (IPTs).  A valid model provides the theoretical framework for this research and has been utilised in previous research examining decision making.     

Current National, International Thinking, and the Significant, Innovative Nature of the Research

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare settings is a very relevant and developing area with national and international ‘think tanks’, organisations, and initiatives ultimately aiming to  improve collaborative practice and increase the quality of patient care.  These are a few examples for what is an army of parties passionate about interprofessional practices (IPP), each with the similar ultimate aims of this project, to share knowledge with policy makers, and planners in the health and education systems, health professionals and educators to ensure better patient care. 

- Australian Interprofessional Education Practice and Education Network (AIPPEN).  
- UK Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education Centre (CAIPE).
- Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative (CIHC).
- The European Interprofessional Practice and Education Network (EIPEN). 

The research model has also been researched both nationally and internationally in a range of contexts (e.g., Australia, USA, UK, Finland and the Netherlands).  These studies have examined expert decision making in a diverse range of contexts (e.g., managerial judgment and decision making, leadership decision making, highway engineers decision making, retail judgements, decision making abilities of undergraduate students, nursing decision making, and medical clinical reasoning.  This provides evidence that the model can successfully provide the framework to explain decision making in a number of areas, and researchers have suggested that the model could provide a capable interprofessional educational (IPE) tool to aid IPP.  However, no research has been found examining this in a medical and allied health combined IPT setting.  This provides the innovative nature of the research, along with examining the models ability to increase communication, collaboration, cohesion and knowledge within in IPTs.   

Study 1 

This is an exploratory study aimed at providing evidence that the model can be applied to IPP, and to examine factors that influence practitioner’s decision making.  This will use a validated questionnaire which was adapted to test the model by determining where novice and experts naturally align their decision making along a cognitive continuum.   

Study 2 

Aims to further examine the model’s ability as an IPE tool in improving the quality of both novice and expert decision making, and to examine its ability to increase communication and collaboration within IPP contexts. 

Participant requirements

Participants will initially be invited to complete a short online questionnaire and some short pre-assessment measures, including demographic questions.  Subsequently, participants will be invited a free one day workshop regarding IPP and clinical decision making.  The workshop will be offered, as much as possible, at a time/location for participant’s convenience. 

Participant incentive

I understand that, from the most novice student to the most expert practitioner, we can be time poor.  Therefore, I have incorporated incentives to give something back to participants that I feel will be useful.  On completion workshop participants will be entitled to continuing professional developments.  Also at each time point participants will have the opportunity to be entered into draws for numerous $50 and $100 gift vouchers. 

This research is undergoing ethics approval.  For expressions of interest and further information please email


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