To measure interprofessional education's impact on healthcare outcomes and delivery, educators, healthcare leaders and policymakers must embrace four strategies, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
IOM convened the Committee on Measuring the Impact of Interprofessional Education on Collaborative Practice and Patient Outcomes to analyze existing data on interprofessional education's effects on healthcare delivery. The Committee's review found multiple gaps in documentation between education and outcomes at the individual, population and system level, even as healthcare experts tout the benefits of team-based care on outcomes. To address these gaps, their report recommends four strategies:
Align education and healthcare delivery systems: To coordinate their strategies, educators must understand the dynamics of health system redesign, while healthcare leaders must have a similar grasp of the process of training and educating effective healthcare workers, particularly as healthcare undergoes rapid change. The practice environment is a good setting to educate staff on healthcare concepts like collaboration and teamwork, according to the report.
Develop an outline for measuring the effects of interprofessional education: The Committee could find no existing interprofessional learning models that factor in all of the necessary features, leading it to develop its own conceptual model. The report concedes the model needs further empirical testing, but even if it was altered, it would retain essential features such as a learning continuum and learning- and health-related outcomes.
Create a more robust evidence base: The Committee's comprehensive literature review had little success finding studies with strong conclusions about interprofessional education's effect on healthcare outcomes. This is largely because complex learning and practice environments make it hard to generate the necessary data, according to the report, as well as the time it takes for education interventions to manifest in care outcomes.
Connect interprofessional education to changes in collaborative behavior: To achieve this, the Committee recommends stakeholders and policymakers commit resources to further studies on interprofessional education's impact on outcomes, as well as a mixed-methods research approach by educators for such studies.
To learn more:
- read the report (purchase required)