Interprofessional education for collaborative practice

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A definition of "interprofessional education"
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Last Update

  • Updated.jpg 8 July 2016


See also Collaborating with faculty and graduate students | Evidence-based medicine | Educational theories' application in evidence-based medicine: an exploration | Information technology | Mentoring 2.0

Interprofessional education for collaborative practice (IECP) is an approach to interprofessional education that brings together health sectors and professionals, in a highly collaborative way, to improve the delivery of patient care and patient outcomes. Interprofessional education has long been recognized as an important part of the medical school curriculum back to Flexner. IPE programs have existed at various medical schools since the 1960s, but interprofessional education programs are increasingly viewed as a means of reducing medical errors and improving the health care system. In 2010, WHO’s Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice was published which highlights the status of interprofessional collaboration worldwide and identifies mechanisms that shape successful collaborative teamwork. It outlines action items for policymakers for use in their local health systems; further, it outlines strategies that aid health policymakers in implementation of interprofessional education and collaborative practices.

Associated terms

Associated terms include "multi-professional education", "common learning", "shared learning", and "interdisciplinary learning". In contrast to multiprofessional education, interprofessional education involves interactive learning focused on active collaboration; it is used mostly in health and social care where collaborative and patient-centred practices are expected to improve health care and quality of life of health and social service users.


Interprofessional Education (IPE) is defined as "...two or more professions learning with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care." (CAIPE, 1997). Gilbert (2005), a leader in IPE, says that IPE is not a synonym for teamwork or for collaborative practices. Rather, IPE is about a purposeful and engaged collegiality, and creating collaborative learning environments with the goal of improving the quality of care and/or health services. Interprofessionality and IPE are used throughout the academic literature and in fields related to medicine and education to describe activities that are explicitly designed to increase learning that is situated with other professionals. Its goals are to teach the skills of interprofessional practice and interprofessional care.

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