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Interprofessional Education 

The Key to Better Health Through Interprofessional, Collaborative, Team-Based Care

Key Public Policy Issues: Interprofessional practice and interprofessional education (e.g., Health Professions Education reauthorization, proposals to reform parts of ACA)

Key Messages:

  • Educators, providers, payers and health systems are engaged in efforts to move healthcare delivery through interprofessional practice and interprofessional education.
  • Additional research is needed to determine IPE best practices that lead to improved health outcomes.
  • Federal policy that supports health professions education needs to be refocused to support IPE.

Providers and Systems Recognize the Value of Interprofessional, Team-Based Practice

Interprofessional Education – The Key to Collaborative, Team-Based Practice:

  • What is Interprofessional Education?

“Interprofessional education occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Once students understand how to work interprofessionally, they are ready to enter the workplace as a member of the collaborative practice team. This is a key step in moving health systems from fragmentation to a position of strength.”

  • Where Are We in Making Interprofessional Education The Primary Approach to Health Professions Education?

To make interprofessional education a reality, members of the Institute of Medicine state, “there will need to be a transformative process that involves patients and populations, the educational system, and the health system…”

  • Health Professions Educators Are A Key to Change.

Recent reports provide a future vision for health professions education, “but, rely on educators to identify, through a process of continuous learning and innovation, the relevant best practices and mechanisms for scaling up proven, improved approaches to integrated health professional education.”;

  • Health Professional Education Leaders Have Created and Broadly Disseminated IPE Competencies.

The Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), in 2011, published “four general competencies for interprofessional, collaborative practice.”

  • Educators Are Actively Engaged In The Creation of IPE Models and Sharing of Best Practices, Yet Sustained Support is Important.

Grant funding from private organizations, interested in interprofessional education as a driver of improved patient outcomes, are supporting health professions education educators develop sustainable models for faculty development.

The National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education “is a unique public-private partnership charged by its funders to provide the leadership, evidence and resources needed to guide the nation on the use of interprofessional education and collaborative practice as a way to enhance the experience of health care, improve population health and reduce the overall cost of care. We do this by aligning interprofessional education and collaborative practice (the “new IPE”) with transforming health care delivery.”

  • We Are Moving In The Right Direction, Yet There Remains The Need For Further Research.

“To address the current lack of broadly applicable measures of collaborative behavior, the report recommends that interprofessional stakeholders, funders, and policy makers commit resources to a coordinated series of well-designed studies of the association between IPE and collaborative behavior, including teamwork and performance in practice.”

  • Public Policy, To Support Improved Patient Outcomes Through IPE and IPP, Should:
    • Focus the work of the HRSA, Bureau of Health professions on reframing the program focus and funding structure of both the Title VII and Title VIII programs to better support interprofessional education.
    • Require the HRSA to establish a research and implementation agenda to move our health professions education institutions more quickly toward the creation of graduates competent to provide team-based, patient-centered care.
    • Establish forums for the discussion of opportunities to utilize current federal funding streams that support health professions education, including residency training (GME), to facilitate and support IPE and IPP.
    • equire healthcare systems that receive Medicare and Medicaid to actively engage with health professions institutions to create interprofessional education opportunities.

For information about any of the issues presented in this brief please access the following resources available on the AACP website:

For assistance in finding information in the above resources or any other information related to academic pharmacy please contact:

Will Lang, Senior Policy Advisor (

Jeffrey Ekoma, Manager, Public Policy and Engagement (



To download this issue brief, please download here.

Last updated on: 4/27/2016 4:02 PM 

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