Transdisciplinary emergency department practice: Five years in, lessons learnt

Ms Jessica Toohey1, Ms Heather McInnes1

1Western Health, St Albans, Australia


Transdisciplinary practice extends clinicians to practice beyond the scope of their traditional professional boundaries.  Transdisciplinary practice is identified as a model of healthcare delivery with the potential to address future healthcare needs, and is predicted to increase in prevalence.  As a key stakeholder in healthcare reform, allied health professions need to take a lead role in shaping current and future transdisciplinary models.


Available literature largely focuses on established areas of transdisciplinary practice such as paediatrics, and primarily focuses on either proposed issues and benefits or clinical outcomes resulting from transdisciplinary practice.  There is a knowledge gap regarding pragmatic concerns of establishing and running a transdisciplinary service.  This presentation describes the lived experience of a group of allied health clinicians undertaking a transdisciplinary role in an Australian context, intending to share their practice wisdom to assist knowledge dissemination for others undertaking or seeking to develop transdisciplinary roles.


“Lessons learnt” across a number of domains will be presented, identifying existing and potential challenges and actions.  Navigating dual governance structures; balancing disparate discipline practice frameworks within transdisciplinary care; team composition considerations; developing and maintaining  transdisciplinary culture; education and training responsibilities and standards, and data and performance indicators to attribute disciplinary input will be explored.

Significance of the findings to allied health:

There is a clear impetus for allied health to proactively identify and manage the challenges and opportunities of allied health emergency department transdisciplinary roles, and those more broadly.  This will ensure the advancement of transdisciplinary practice, whilst addressing the current and future development of the allied health workforce.