What is IPE?

Interprofessional education (IPE) “occurs when two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”

Interprofessional (or collaborative) care “occurs when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds provide comprehensive health services by working with patients, their families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care across settings.” – Framework for Action on IPE and Collaborative Practice (WHO, 2010)

High functioning, interprofessional health care teams are a vital part of today’s health care system, as they significantly contribute to the quality and efficiency of patient-centered care delivery. Despite the clear need for interprofessional education (IPE) in health professions programs, many programs have traditionally educated their students in “organizational silos”, where they gain little exposure to the roles and issues of allied professions, and where promotion of highly specialized knowledge in each discipline is emphasized over team-based collaboration.

IPE focuses on the development of four core competencies:

Values and Ethics for Interprofessional Practice

  • Act with honesty and integrity in relationships with patients, families and other team members.
  • Respect the dignity and privacy of patients in the delivery of team-based care.

Roles and Responsibilities for Collaborative Practice

  • Communicate one’s role clearly to patients, families and other professions.
  • Explain the roles of other health care providers and how the team works together to provide care.

Interprofessional Communication

  • Apply tools and techniques, including information systems and communication technologies, to facilitate discussions and interactions that enhance team function.
  • Give timely, constructive feedback to others about their performance on the team and respond respectfully as a team member to feedback from others.

Interprofessional Teamwork and Team-Based Care

  • Engage other health care providers—as appropriate to the specific care situation—in shared patient-centered problem solving.
  • Reflect on both individual and team performance improvement.

-IPE Collaborative (2011, 2016), Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice: Report on an Expert Panel

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