In 2015, the Belgian Health Ministers launched a plan intended to evolve towards an integrated care system for chronic patients. This plan is implemented through pilot projects involving local actors. Therefore, the researcher raised the following research question: how does the use of pilot projects as implementation instruments structure the collaboration between parties involved in a pilot project? The term “pilot project” refers to a collaborative work method coupled with an experimentation purpose. This is further developed in the paper via a literature study. This qualitative research draws on interviews, focus groups, direct observation, and a documentary analysis. During the two first phases of the process, field workers had to create multidisciplinary local consortia and write an application file describing the project they would implement during the third phase, which raised challenging collaboration issues. Many people learned to work together over time, progressively overcoming the traditional fragmentation of care. They met regularly, understood their respective roles, and dealt with controversies through negotiation to reach an agreement on a common project. In conclusion, the researcher shows that, thanks to its characteristics, the pilot project instrument supports the development of collaborative care networks; in this example of community-based integrated care networks.
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