An integrative review of interprofessional collaboration in health care: Building the case for university support and resources and faculty engagement

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Healthcare (Switzerland)


Background: In 2010, the World Health Organization issued a clarion call for action on interprofessional education and collaboration. This call came forty years after the concept of interprofessional collaboration (IPC) was introduced. Aim: To conduct an integrative review of interprofessional collaboration in health care education in order to evaluate evidence and build the case for university support and resources and faculty engagement, and propose evidence-based implications and recommendations. Search Strategy: A literature search was conducted by an interprofessional faculty from a college of nursing and health sciences. Databases searched included CINAHL, Medline, Eric, Pubmed, Psych Info Lit., and Google Scholar. Keywords were interdisciplinary, interprofessional, multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary, health care team, teamwork, and collaboration. Inclusion criteria were articles that were in the English language, and published between 1995 and 2019. Review Methods: Thirteen interprofessional team members searched assigned databases. Based on key words and inclusion criteria, over 216,885 articles were identified. After removing duplicates, educational studies, available as full text were reviewed based on titles, and abstracts. Thirty-two articles were further evaluated utilizing the Sirriyeh, Lawton, Gardner, and Armitage (2012) review system. Faculty agreed that an inclusion score of 20 or more would determine an article’s inclusion for the final review. Eighteen articles met the inclusion score and the data was reduced and analyzed using the Donabedian Model to determine the structure, processes, and outcomes of IPC in health care education. Results: Structure included national and international institutions of higher education and focused primarily on undergraduate and graduate health care students’ experiences. The IPC processes included curricular, course, and clinical initiatives, and transactional and interpersonal processes. Outcomes were positive changes in faculty and health care students’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding IPC, as well as challenges related to structure, processes, and outcomes which need to be addressed. Implications/Recommendations/Conclusions: The creation of a culture of interprofessional collaboration requires a simultaneous “top–down” and “bottom–up” approach with commitment by the university administration and faculty. A university Interprofessional Strategic Plan is important to guide the vision, mission, goals, and strategies to promote and reward IPC and encourage faculty champions. University support and resources are critical to advance curricular, course, and clinical initiatives. Grassroots efforts of faculty to collaborate with colleagues outside of their own disciplines are acknowledged, encouraged, and established as a normative expectation. Challenges to interprofessional collaboration are openly addressed and solutions proposed through the best thinking of the university administration and faculty. IPC in health care education is the clarion call globally to improve health care.



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