New models of health care, such as the patient-centered medical home, envision a medical team that promotes wellness and helps a patient manage chronic disease in addition to treating acute conditions. Teams are seen as a way to take some of the pressure off primary care by letting other health professionals play expanded roles in patient care. Many would probably welcome the role, but many would also be uncertain about how to play it. Functioning as a team is about more than being pleasant and supportive; it calls for skills such as goal-setting, communication, and conflict resolution. Such skills can be taught, but historically have not been part of health professions curricula. Some educational leaders see interprofessional learning as key to effective interprofessional practice. Efforts to incorporate interprofessional classwork and clinical training are spreading through academic health centers, but they face significant challenges with respect to both resources and the traditional culture of academic health centers. This Forum session looked at the development, achievements, and challenges of interprofessional education (IPE), with consideration of the impact that health professionals trained as teams may have on care delivery, quality improvement, and system transformation.
Madeline Schmitt, PhD, RN, Professor Emerita, University of Rochester School of Nursing; Steven K. Rothschild, MD, Associate Professor, Rush University Medical Center; Barbara Brandt, PhD, Associate Vice President for Education, University of Minnesota Academic Health Center
See also "Team-Based Competencies: Building a Shared Foundation for Education and Clinical Practice," Conference Proceedings, February 16-17, 2011.