Title: Cooperatives for therapists : an innovative approach for current challenges in professional independence
Authors : Meidert, Ursula
Kollmar, Anja
Becker, Heidrun Karin
et. al : No
Conference details: WFOT Congress, Capetown, South Africa, 21 - 25 May 2018
Publisher / Ed. Institution : World Federation of Occupational Therapists
Issue Date: 22-May-2018
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Not specified
Language : English
Subjects : Cooperatives; Health sector; Professional independance; Therapists
Subject (DDC) : 362: Health and social services
Abstract: Introduction: Many therapists’ goal is to become professionally independent and establish their own OT-practice. However, entrepreneurial challenges and risks often jeopardize this goal. With the result that not only a dream may never come true but also that areas stay undersupplied with OT-services. Furthermore, OTs may be hampered in their professional advancement and leave their profession for other professional or private opportunities. A solution to this problem could lay in founding cooperatives for therapists. This could reduce their entrepreneurial risk, unfold synergies and provide carrier opportunities and professional development. Cooperatives in the health sector are on the rise in many European countries, e.g., Germany (Mayer, n.d., Voss, 2015) and the interest on models of sustainable and shared economy are increasing (Taisch, 2017). Cooperatives are claimed to be able to “connect the unconnectable” as it gives different stake-holders – often with a broad range of different interests – a vessel to work together and meet at equal levels (Taisch, 2017). Founding of therapist-cooperatives may be an approach to keep the OT profession attractive: it gives OTs the possibility to evolve in their professional life. It may also be a measure against the increasing lack of therapists in Switzerland and other western countries. This project is part of a cooperation between the Swiss Universities in Health to establish a competence center for workforce shortage among health professionals. Objectives: Project aims were: 1) To explore the current state of satisfaction with the professional situation of OTs in Switzerland and their interest to become independent and found their own business 2) Explore their interest in cooperatives as a business model 3) Assess practitioners needs for information and support on the way to their professional independence 4) To assess the stance of the professional associations and consider their role for founding cooperatives Method: 1) A free-hand literature review and document analyses on cooperatives, the health care system, business models and requirements for independent practice was conducted. 2) Re-analyses of different data-sets in regard of satisfaction with the profession, position and employment was performed. 3) Expert interviews with representatives of professional ass-ociations and one expert on cooperatives were performed. 4) Interviews with OTs and PTs in practice and on the way of founding their own practice were held. Results: • Occupational satisfaction amongst OTs in Switzerland is very high and even higher amongst independent practitioners. • Cooperatives are appealing as business model as they have flat hierarchies, co-determination and democratic decision-making, sustainable economic structure and cooperation at equal level for all stakeholders involved. • In Switzerland, the legal requirements for cooperatives are discerning. Other legal forms for businesses are preferable as they allow for more flexibility. • Professional associations support the idea of using synergies amongst independent practitioners. However, they do not see themselves as initiator or coordinators of cooperatives. Conclusions: • Using cooperatives as a business model for successful OT practice may depend strongly on the individual legal situation in each country, on the established health care system and on the stance of professional associations. • Cooperatives may be an attractive model for cooperation and collaboration amongst independent practitioners.
Departement: Health Professions
Organisational Unit: Institute of Occupational Therapy (IER)
Publication type: Conference Poster
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/17536
Published as part of the ZHAW project : Innovative Modelle für die Zusammenarbeit in der ambulanten Versorgung
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Gesundheit

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