How do primary health care teams learn to integrate intimate partner violence (IPV) management? A realist evaluation protocol

I. Goicolea, C. Vives-Cases, M. San Sebastian, B. Marchal, G. Kegels, A.K. Hurtig

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BACKGROUND: Despite the existence of ample literature dealing, on the one hand, with the integration of innovations within health systems and team learning, and, on the other hand, with different aspects of the detection and management of intimate partner violence (IPV) within healthcare facilities, research that explores how health innovations that go beyond biomedical issues-such as IPV management-get integrated into health systems, and that focuses on healthcare teams' learning processes is, to the best of our knowledge, very scarce if not absent. This realist evaluation protocol aims to ascertain: why, how, and under what circumstances primary healthcare teams engage (if at all) in a learning process to integrate IPV management in their practices; and why, how, and under what circumstances team learning processes lead to the development of organizational culture and values regarding IPV management, and the delivery of IPV management services. METHODS: This study will be conducted in Spain using a multiple-case study design. Data will be collected from selected cases (primary healthcare teams) through different methods: individual and group interviews, routinely collected statistical data, documentary review, and observation. Cases will be purposively selected in order to enable testing the initial middle-range theory (MRT). After in-depth exploration of a limited number of cases, additional cases will be chosen for their ability to contribute to refining the emerging MRT to explain how primary healthcare learn to integrate intimate partner violence management. DISCUSSION: Evaluations of health sector responses to IPV are scarce, and even fewer focus on why, how, and when the healthcare services integrate IPV management. There is a consensus that healthcare professionals and healthcare teams play a key role in this integration, and that training is important in order to realize changes. However, little is known about team learning of IPV management, both in terms of how to trigger such learning and how team learning is connected with changes in organizational culture and values, and in service delivery. This realist evaluation protocol aims to contribute to this knowledge by conducting this project in a country, Spain, where great endeavours have been made towards the integration of IPV management within the health system.
Original languageEnglish
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number36
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Health systems
  • Primary health care
  • Health facilities
  • Health workers
  • Patient care management
  • Partners
  • Violence
  • Integrated health care
  • Evaluation
  • Protocols
  • Knowledge
  • Training
  • Spain
  • Europe-South


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