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Interprofessional Education Reports Detail Competencies and Strategies for the Health Professions

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Six national health professions associations and three private foundations released new reports detailing their recommendations for interprofessional education in the health professions. These reports provide the new competencies and action strategies to be implemented in educational institutions in the United States, providing the foundation for improved patient care and services. 

Along with ADEA, contributors to the first report, Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, are the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Association of Schools of Public Health. These six associations are part of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), and their purpose was to identify individual-level core interprofessional competencies for future health professionals.

Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, Executive Director of ADEA From the 2009 meeting, the IPEC expert panel proposed four domains of core competencies that are essential to providing efficient and effective patient care within the nation’s current and ever-evolving health care system, in addition to 38 specific subcompetencies that describe the essential behaviors across these domains. The panel’s recommendations for future health professionals include:

  • Asserting values and ethics of interprofessional practice by placing the interests, dignity, and respect of patients at the center of health care delivery, and embracing the cultural diversity and differences of health care teams
  • Leveraging the unique roles and responsibilities of interprofessional partners to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of patients and populations served
  • Communicating with patients, families, communities, and other health professionals in support of a team approach to preventing disease and disability, maintaining health, and treating disease 
  • Performing effectively in various team roles to deliver patient/population-centered care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable

Drs. Sandra C. Andrieu, ADEA Immediate Past President, and Leo E. Rouse, ADEA President, represented the Association and academic dentistry in the IPEC membership.

More than 80 leaders from the Health Resources and Services Administration; the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and the ABIM Foundation, in partnership with IPEC, met in February 2011 to review the competencies set forth by the IPEC group and to create action strategies. From this meeting, Team-Based Competencies, Building a Shared Foundation for Education and Clinical Practice was developed. These action strategies implement the IPEC core competencies and provide a means of instilling collaboration among health professionals. They are:

  • Communicate and disseminate the core competencies to key stakeholders—academic deans, policymakers, and health care leaders—and launch an education campaign that makes the critical link between collaborative health care teams and providing high-quality, safe, and cost-sensitive treatment.
  • Prepare faculty for teaching students how to work effectively as part of a team and encourage all health professions to use the competencies in their fields.
  • Develop metrics for interprofessional education and collaborative care to help advance
    team-based competencies in teaching and practice.
  • Forge partnerships among the academic community, health care providers, and government agencies to advance interprofessional education.

The reports were released at a May 10, 2011, joint press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. ADEA Executive Director Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H., who spoke at the press conference, said, “This report coalesces the common vision of health professions educators for the preparation of future health care providers. The competencies put forth in the report are our starting point for high-quality, accessible, patient-centered care that ensures the health of the public.”  ADEA President Dr. Leo E. Rouse also attended the press conference.

Watch video of the press conference here.

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