Synthesis of systematic review evidence of interprofessional education

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Submitted by Scott Reeves on May 19, 2014 - 2:49pm CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article

Interprofessional education (IPE) continues to be a central focus within health care and research spheres. As a result, there is a sustained interest in understanding its overall effects on learners, professions, organizations, and patients. Systematic reviews are instrumental in assessing evidence and informing disciplinary fields about the effects of interventions and providing direction for future activity and research. This paper provides a synthesis and critical appraisal of the evidence for IPE contained in the small, but growing, systematic review literature. Six IPE reviews were located. In general, the reviews shared similar definitions of IPE and similar methodological approaches to their inclusion of studies. Findings from the synthesis indicated that IPE varied in terms of content, duration, and professional participation. The synthesis also indicated that studies that evaluated this form of education were of variable quality and captured a range of different outcomes-from reports of learner satisfaction to changes in the delivery of care. While a number of methodological problems were found, in general the synthesis indicated that IPE delivered in a variety of settings was generally well received by learners and enabled the acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for collaborative working. Some evidence was also found that IPE can improve the delivery of services and make a positive impact on care. The paper goes on to discuss the synthesis findings in relation to the most recent IPE literature and also offers a series of suggestions for future directions.

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Scott Reeves
Joanne Goldman
A. Burton
Brenda Sawatzky-Girling