The term ‘problem of practice’ originates in the education sector and can be adapted for use in the health sector. In the education sector a ‘problem of practice’ is defined as: “An area that a school identifies that focuses on the instructional core, is directly observable, is actionable, and connects to a broader strategy of improvement.” Identifying a problem of practice is the first step of instructional improvement leading to enhanced learning outcomes. Identifying problems of practice may be seen as cornerstones to any theory of improvement.
For our use, we have utilised this theory of improvement and adapted the definition of problem of practice to: “An area of prescribing practice, identified through the national dispensing data, that is actionable by health practitioners, and connects to a broader strategy of improving equitable access to medicines and health improvement.”
The process for defining the problems of practice will involve reflecting on data and consulting with key stakeholders, aligning with the key objectives of He Ako Hiringa and our prior work towards achieving medicine access equity. He Ako Hiringa does this through initial development of the problem(s) of practice with an advisory group followed by formalised engagement with stakeholders.