Alberta Context Tool
Organizational context refers to “…the environment or setting in which people receive healthcare services, or in the context of getting research evidence into practice, the environment or setting in which the proposed change is to be implemented”. More simply, context is the sum of the forces at work that give the physical environment a certain character or feeling. The influence of organizational context on translation of scientific knowledge (or research) into practice is widely acknowledged by researchers. However, limited empirical evidence supports this assumption, in part because reliable and valid measures of context are lacking. In response, the Alberta Context Tool© (ACT) was developed in 2006 to address this gap. The ACT assesses individual healthcare providers’ perceptions of context, which can then be aggregated to provide unit and/or facility level estimates of context.
There are three different versions of the ACT, a version for each of the following settings. Each version has multiple forms, one form for each of the following provider groups.
The ACT is available in six languages.
- Acute care (adult and pediatric)
- Residential long term care (nursing homes)
- Community/Home care
- Healthcare aides
- Allied health providers
- Practice specialists
- Care managers
All forms of the ACT contain of a series of questions that tap eight unique dimensions of organizational context. The eighth dimension, organizational slack, is subdivided into three parts. Together, these dimensions and sub-dimensions comprise ten modifiable concepts. The number of questions included in each ACT form is 56 to 58 (depending on the form).
The dimensions included in the ACT are:
- Social capital
- Informal interactions
- Formal interactions
- Structural/electronic resources
- Organizational slack (comprising three concepts: staff, time and space)