Bulletin of Dental Education

Interprofessional Education: The Benefit/Cost Equation

(Conferences and Meetings, Curriculum, Faculty, Involvement) Permanent link   All Posts

A team of presenters from the University of Minnesota described the robust IPE program that the school has put in place in the last few years, and Mr. Jeffrey S. Ogden, Chief Administrative Officer for University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, attempted to quantify its financial impact. As he pointed out, this is easier said than done because each health professions school within the university uses a different accounting system. He has come to some conclusions about the costs and benefits of IPE.

While IPE may be central to an institution's mission, it is difficult to justify financially. The burden of coordinating scheduling across multiple campuses and the revenue lost from increased educational use of hospital resources both bring short-term costs. Mr. Ogden anticipates that IPE will generate a long-term return on investment resulting from fewer patient complaints about their care. In the interim, universities can introduce IPE inexpensively by taking advantage of resources that are already in place. Strategies include:

  • identifying a leader to manage the IPE initiative who is already on staff (the person’s salary is already part of the budget)
  • working with Area Health Education Centers (AHECs; they have an independent budgets, and IPE is part of their mission)
  • taking advantage of simulation labs within the academic health center
  • adapting existing courses in coordination with other health professions schools rather than adding on new ones

Mr. Ogden pointed out that AHECs also provide a great opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of IPE outside the urban centers where most academic health centers are located and to build support among rural legislators for IPE programs.

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