Editorial - Interprofessional - education, learning, practice and care

John Gilbert's picture
Submitted by John Gilbert on Apr 14, 2014 - 9:44am CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article

Probably, the most frequently asked question about interprofessional education (IPE) is “Does IPE make any difference to health care?” This question was posed in a slightly different way at the All Together Better Health meeting in London, UK, in July 1997. At that conference, two propositions were debated: “interprofessional education promotes collaboration” and “collaboration improves the quality of care” (Leathard, 1997). In that meeting, Dr De Witt Baldwin made his apposite observation that “interprofessional education is a great truth awaiting scientific confirmation.” The London meeting was the hinge of history for IPE – 15 years on – where does the field stand? An implicit assumption nested in the question posed is that IPE can be proven to make a difference, which assumption is itself built on an assumption that there is agreement on what has to be proved about IPE. At face value, this is a “So what?” question. This complex question is open, however, to more profound analyses, some of which have been discussed by Reeves (2010a, 2010b) and some of which I should like to present in this note. It is recognized that at this time there are few (if any) correct answers to the question.

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John Gilbert