Development and evaluation of a Community of Practice (CoP) to reduce waiting time for community outpatient services

Ms Annie Lewis1,2, Professor Nicholas Taylor1,2, Dr Katherine Harding1,2

1Eastern Health, Box Hill , Australia, 2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia


Aim: To determine whether a CoP promotes translation of an innovative, effective model of access and triage, and improves timely access to community outpatient services.

Method: This is part of a broader study which found wait times could be reduced by 34% using the Specific Timely Appointments for Triage (STAT) model. The CoP aimed to promote engagement for uptake of research evidence with three components: a shared goal, social engagement and availability of resources. The CoP was developed after a series of STAT implementation workshops from participants who expressed a desire for ongoing engagement. Workshop participants were invited to join a CoP through an email or Facebook group. Initial analysis measured the engagement interaction, reach and impact of the CoP.

Results: A total of 174 people have attended workshops from 35 Victorian health services. Of these 95 have engaged in the CoP in an email group (n=95) and a closed Facebook group (n=15). In the first 3months interaction has included a total of 32 Facebook posts, with 122 views. Positive feedback from participants indicates that the CoP has started to have reach and impact, with strong interest expressed in implementing the model in two health services.

Significance of the findings to allied health: Changing practice, based on evidence, is a challenge for researchers. This provides an example of how a CoP, with a common goal of reducing wait times for community outpatient services, social engagement and sharing of resources can be used to translate research findings into practice.


Annie is a project officer working on the STAT model of Access and Triage. She is currently undertaking a Masters by Research investigating the outcomes of waiting for health services. Her interests lie in health service development particularly in the area of ambulatory care. Her background is in Occupational Therapy with experience in acute, sub-acute, community and educational settings.