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About Interprofessional Learning in Practice

An Interprofessional and Team-Based Approach to Improving the Current Health Care System

For over a decade, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has called for changes in the United States health care delivery system to improve patient care and reduce medical errors. Patients are often cared for by healthcare providers with different training or from different professions, typically in a linear fashion with care and information flow occurring in a silo model. Dysfunctional communication patterns, coordination and lack of teamwork are often cited as key elements requiring improvement within our current healthcare system.

Interprofessional care teams exist where providers from different health professions disciplines work to coordinate care to address a specific patient problem. Interprofessional teams exist when members share a collective identity and collaborate through team communication, decision-making and teamwork in their care of patients (e.g., ICU nurse, physician, and pharmacist working together). Some experts refer to this form of care as "interprofessional collaborative practice" or "team-based care".

"Health professions learners must be trained differently than what we have done for years. We need to get them out of their own professions' silos and collaborating together for the sake of providing patient-centered care! The goal of interprofessional education is for students to learn how to function in an interprofessional team and carry the knowledge, skill, and values from those professions into their future practice. Ultimately, to improve patient outcomes."

Common core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice have been developed to guide interprofessional education for health professions' learners and practitioners. 


Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration

  1. Enhancing the quality of care
  2. Creating safe and effective teams
  3. Reducing duplication and error
  4. Adding patients/family members as members of the team
  5. Greater efficiency and continuity
  6. Increased satisfaction of staff and patients