Interprofessional Education: Communication, Goals, and Barriers

Author: Sondra M. Adkinson

Interprofessional education (IPE) has primary goals: to improve outcomes; to reach the population in a healthcare setting where teams can actually provide cost-effectiveness to lower our healthcare costs; and to reach unreached areas. We do the latter with teams: in the interprofessional education model, the patients are at the center and the team has responsibilities and skills that intercoordinate. Because of their specific skill sets, they can provide that care in some of our more unreached areas, which is one of the reasons why the World Health Organization is behind IPE: to reach more of the unreached and the isolated healthcare areas. That standard would go a long way towards public health, improving patient outcomes, and lowering the cost of care. Barriers come in the form of communication. That’s where the universities and colleges are actually employing the faculty with mentoring and coaching training so that they can improve the communication skills within each of the professions, whether it’s physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers. Not letting any one team member be the leader who prevents the other skill sets from contributing. Some of the other barriers are administrative, financial. Some of the campuses have actual land-lock problems where resources in buildings are the obstacle. Some of the medical libraries are not a shared work center where the teams can meet in small groups as a place where they can get their projects off and into the community.

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