New IOM Report Examines Methods to Measure the Impact of IPE on Outcomes

A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) examines the methods needed to measure the impact that interprofessional education (IPE) has on collaborative practice and health and system outcomes.

The value of IPE—which occurs when learners of two or more health and/or social care professions engage in learning with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the delivery of care—has been embraced worldwide, but many in leadership positions have questioned how IPE affects patient, population and health system outcomes.

This question cannot be fully answered without well-designed studies, and these studies cannot be conducted without an understanding of the methods and measurements needed to conduct such an analysis.

The IOM report, “Measuring the Impact of Interprofessional Education on Collaborative Practice and Patient Outcomes,” (click here for a report brief) recommends actions that interprofessional stakeholders, funders, policy makers, health profession educators and academic and health system leaders can take to better measure the impact of IPE on collaborative practice and health and system outcomes. The committee also puts forth a conceptual model for evaluating IPE that could be adapted to particular settings in which it is applied.  

The model, which aims to incorporate the necessary components of evaluating IPE outcomes, includes concepts – a learning continuum, outcomes and enabling and interfering factors – that can be consistently incorporated regardless of local educational structures and terminology.

Barbara Brandt, PhD, director, National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, served on the six-person committee along with other national and international IPE leaders.  Among the committee’s findings were four areas that, if addressed, would lay a strong foundation for evaluating the impact of IPE on collaborative practice and patient outcomes.

  1. More closely aligning the education and health care delivery systems, what the National Center refers to as the Nexus;
  2. Developing a conceptual framework for measuring the impact of IPE;
  3. Strengthening the evidence base for IPE; and
  4. More effectively linking IPE with changes in collaborative behavior.

The report also references some of the National Center’s efforts to help build the knowledge base for measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of IPE, a focus area of the center since its inception in October 2012.

From a scoping review of literature to determine the success of IPE studies in achieving Triple Aim outcomes to partnering with organizations across the U.S. to grow the Nexus Innovation Network – a collection of applied research sites studying practical applications of IPE in diverse settings – the National Center is at the forefront of building the business case for investing in IPE.

Information about these activities – and a collection of 26 validated measurement instruments and resources for selecting evaluation tools– are available on the National Center’s website, www.nexusipe.org.  

Questions about the IOM report can be directed to IHPEGlobalForum@nas.edu. Questions about the National Center can be directed to nexusipe@umn.edu.

Thank you to the IOM for contributing content to this article. 

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