Interprofessional Collaborations (IPC) care systems can go a long way towards bridging the gap between the medical, Fitness and Wellness industries. But first let us not confuse the difference between the prefixes inter and intra professional. Interprofessional collaboration includes all stakeholders in collaborative efforts that affect consumers care. These include the aforementioned industries and any other profession needed for a specific situation. Intraprofessional include only professionals within a given industry, for example doctors, nurses and lab technicians.
IPC care systems are recognized for improving efficiency and effectiveness. Studies have shown positive outcomes for patients, providers and overall care systems when IPC’s are encouraged and supported (better use of resources and increased access to care). IPC’s can play an important role in integrating the global health workforce. Collaborative practices occurs when multiple care systems from different professional backgrounds provide comprehensive services to consumers, their families and communities by delivering the highest quality of care.
IPC care systems are a complex process that require a variety of actors to interact in social, cultural and professional systems. The factors that influence engagement in collaborative practices are broad and interrelated. They include systematic perspective, organizational structures and supports and interactional elements, such as willingness, trust, mutual respect, and expertise and communication skills.
There are four core competencies that facilitate IPC within the context of consumer care. Development and demonstration of these competencies requires reflection, flexibility and adaptability within the spectrum of care contexts; from prevention and health maintenance to acute, chronic, long term and palliative care and the overall goals of care in a specific situation. These competencies are a key adjunct to the general professional competencies of individual health professions.
- Values/Ethics for interprofessional practices.
- Roles/responsibilities for collaborative practice.
- Interprofessional Communication.
- Interprofessional teamwork and team based care.
Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice
Team members are to work with other professionals to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values. This is done by placing the interests of the patients at the center of the interprofessional care delivery. Respect the dignity and privacy of the patients while maintaining confidentiality and transparency in the delivery of team based care. Recognize and respect the unique cultures, values, roles/responsibilities and expertise of the other professionals. Work in cooperation with those who receive care, those who provide care and others who contribute to or support the delivery of prevention and care services.
Roles/Responsibilities for Collaborative Practice
Starts by communicating one’s roles and responsibilities clearly to the consumers, families and other professionals. Recognize one’s limitation in skills, knowledge and abilities and engage others when appropriate. Engage diverse care professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to meet specific patients care needs. Explain the roles and responsibilities of other care providers and how the team works together to provide care.
Use the full scope of knowledge, skills and abilities of available care professionals to provide care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective and equitable. Forge interdependent relationships with other professions to improve care and advance learning. Engage in continuous professional and interprofessional development to enhance team performance. Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to optimize consumer care.
Communicate with patients, families, communities and other care professionals in responsive and responsible manner that supports a team approach to the maintenance of health and treatment for the specific situation. Choose effective communication tools and techniques, including information systems and communication technologies, to facilitate discussions and interactions that enhance team function. Organize and communicate information in a form or format that is understandable, avoid discipline specific terminology when possible.
Express one’s knowledge and opinions to team members involved with confidence, clarity and respect and work to ensure common understanding of information, treatment and care decisions. Recognize how one’s own uniqueness, including experience level, expertise and culture within the care team, contributes to effective communication, conflict resolution and positive interprofessional working relationships. Listen actively and encourage the ideas and opinions of other team members. Provide timely, sensitive, instructive 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
Apply relationship building values and the principles of team dynamics to perform effectively in different team roles to plan and deliver customer centered care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective and equitable. Develop consensus on the ethical principles to guide all aspects of patient care and team work. Engage other professionals appropriate to the specific care situation in shared patient centered problem solving.
Integrate the knowledge and experience of other professions appropriate to the specific care situation to inform care decisions, while respecting the values and preferences of the customer involved. Share accountability appropriately with other professions and patients for outcomes relevant to prevention and care. Use process improvement strategies to increase the effectiveness of interprofessional teamwork and team based care. Use available evidence to inform effective teamwork and team based practices.
Research demonstrates that IPC can be an effective care tool that increase transparency and improve outcomes at the system level. Implementation of an IPC in a treatment structure, forces care providers to work in an interdependent environment which produces measurable performance outcomes for consumers. Performance is improved because of the organic feedback loop of check and balances, addition of multiple expertise and a team based approach to care.
The shift in treatment perspective provided by IPC empowers customers and focus more on the promotion of overall wellness. In addition to disease care and treatment, IPC are essential in organizational innovations. Professionals working together become the creators of change through consensus building and co-producing shared results. Finally, IPC are a successful way of facilitating innovations to reduce care gaps and improve health prevention’s, such as access to care, patient engagement and increasing follow ups in the primary care system.
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Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice. (Feb. 2011). Sponsored by The Interprofessional Education Collaborative. Washington, DC.
Hjalmarson, H. V., Ahgren, B., & Kjölsrud, M. S. (2013). Developing interprofessional collaboration: A longitudinal case of secondary prevention for patients with osteoporosis. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 27(2), 161-170 10p. doi:10.3109/13561820.2012.724123
Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel. (2011). Core competencies for interprofessional Collaborative practice: Report of an expert panel. Washington, D.C.: Interprofessional Education Collaborative.