Aim To describe the development of a proposed case study protocol investigating interprofessional relationships in a rapid response system (RRS) in a socioculturally complex clinical environment.
Background Suboptimal care of deteriorating ward patients remains a concern for many acute healthcare organisations. Despite the advent of RRSs, emergency response teams are not always used to their full potential. How and why interprofessional relationships influence practices associated with the care and management of ward patients at risk of clinical deterioration requires investigation.
Data sources Theoretical and empirical literature describing case study research and RRSs.
Review methods An integrative review approach of the literature, focusing on key terms relating to ‘case study research’ and ‘rapid response system’, provided context and informed development of the study protocol.
Discussion A single-site mixed-method instrumental case study protocol was developed using methodological triangulation and a multi-level model to examine interprofessional relationships between a broad range of stakeholders. Concurrent data collection and analysis will occur using document review of clinical scenarios, non-participant observations and semi-structured interviews.
Conclusion Case study research is an effective method for investigating socioculturally complex clinical environments. A strength of this approach is the flexibility in the choice of methods, which allows the researcher to build the design most suitable for the subjects or phenomena being investigated. Although this flexibility may be considered a potential weakness, rigour can be achieved by application of the strategies described.
Implications for research/practice Findings from this research will provide rich descriptive insights into RRS relationships and healthcare professional practices during day-to-day management of acute ward patients at risk of or experiencing clinical deterioration. Description of this structured case study research approach will also inform other researchers.