ABOUT INTERPROFESSIONAL PRACTICE AND EDUCATION
The idea that teams and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around for more than 50 years. During this time, many have experimented with a variety of approaches for educating health professionals to work in teams.
Interest in this topic was renewed after the Institute of Medicine issued a series of reports, in the early 2000s that raised concerns about medical errors, patient safety and the quality of health care delivered in the United States, and noted a link to the need for health professionals to work better together in teams. This lack of teamwork, collaboration and communication was leading to a variety of adverse and costly outcomes.
Today, leaders within the U.S. and beyond recognize the need for team-based and collaborative care models – starting with students and continuing into professional settings – to ensure the highest quality of care and lowest cost in all settings and professions. We believe high-functioning teams can improve the experience, outcomes and costs of health care.
While called by different names, we call it interprofessional practice and education, or the “new”IPE.
The “New” IPE
Traditionally, IPE has referred to interprofessional education. The most commonly accepted definition, adapted from the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education in the United Kingdom and the World Health Organization, states that it “occurs when two or more professions (students, residents and health workers) learn with, about, and from each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”
We use the phrase "interprofessional practice and education" (IPE) as a way to create a shared space between interprofessional education, interprofessional practice and collaborative practice. The “new IPE” does not replace the principles related to these concepts – rather, it embraces them.
The “new” IPE is not about education for education’s sake. It’s about improving health, creating support systems and trying different models of practice. It intentionally supports people – including health professionals, health workers, students, residents, patients, families and communities – to learn together every day to enhance collaboration and improve health outcomes while reducing costs.