Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (2023)

Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (1)

Imagine this: you make the exciting (and frightening) decision to build an addition to your house. Of course, you could try to take on the full project yourself, but most of us would probably at least consult with an electrician, a plumber, and maybe a carpenter before making that first trip to the hardware store. It’s only natural to call on the expertise of others to address tasks that you’re less familiar with, and the work often goes faster and more successfully when those experts communicate with each other to make best use of their skills. In the healthcare industry, this practice is called interprofessional collaboration.

At the University of New England’s recent Interprofessional Showcase, students and practitioners across a wide breadth of vocations considered how they could improve the level of their care by calling on the expertise of their peers who have specialized in other areas of healthcare. Interprofessionalism and interprofessional collaborative practice can be applied to any profession, but it takes on heightened importance when it comes to healthcare and the potential for its impact on patients’ lives.

What is interprofessional collaboration?

Interprofessional collaboration is when “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.” (World Health Organization) Through this type of communication and teamwork, individuals can better understand the importance of each health professional’s unique skill set and provide patients vastly improved healthcare experience.

Interprofessionalism does not stem from sitting in the same room, watching the same lecture as other teams, or simply talking about the subject. (For example, this blog would not count as an interprofessional project.) There must be an element of intentional and cross-functional collaboration: a discussion concerning how each professional’s role and strengths can be integrated to provide better care as a whole.

What is the importance of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare?

In 1972, the Institute of Medicine started encouraging “team-based practice,” but the idea didn’t fully catch on at the time. Within a few decades, an issue arose: several studies pointed to medical errors as a leading cause of death in patients (though there is some argument around this exact statistic). Regardless of the official tally, the healthcare community investigated their practices and found they could potentially decrease medical errors by sharing information and responsibilities between teams and by encouraging collaboration.

Through this dedication to sharing knowledge and duties, the medical community found that interprofessionalism improves patient outcomes and their rate of satisfaction, saves costs, and even raises the job satisfaction of medical caregivers.

Simply put, this kind of interdisciplinary, team-based care can save lives.

How do I know if I’m participating in interprofessional care?

It’d be easy to say that interprofessional care is being practiced just because a number of team-members come from different disciplines. Instead, there needs to be cross-collaboration before it can be called “interprofessional.” Consider the original house addition example: you might have both a plumber and an electrician, but if the electrician isn’t checking in with the plumber to make sure they aren’t putting in wires where the pipes are supposed to go, you’re going to get a much less effective and efficient process (and maybe even a shock-y result)!

Here are the official four core competencies, or pillars, of interprofessional collaborative practice that you can check to see if you’re practicing interprofessional care:

  1. A mutual respect of values and ethics
  2. An understanding of everyone’s roles and responsibilities
  3. Frequent communication between patients, families, communities, and professionals in health and other fields
  4. Application of relationship-building values to perform and collaborate effectively in different team roles

Dr. Michael Christie, who pioneered an interprofessional initiative at Penobscot Community Health Care in Maine, puts this another way. He states that interprofessional team needs three things:

  1. Feedback: By discussing your actions, you can learn from each other and plan to improve in the future
  2. Fun: Of course, you want to enjoy working with your teammates
  3. Humility: Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know

Read more: “You don’t know what you don’t know” is also a favorite adage of UNE Ed.D. graduate and professor Dan Mickool. Learn more about his dissertation and practice concerning interprofessional care in this video.

Examples of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare

At the IPC Showcase, Karen Morgan, D.O., a Pediatrician Lead Preceptor in New Hampshire, listed the multiple medical professionals she might need to coordinate to address the needs of one patient: a nutritionist to figure out a meal plan, a social worker for transportation, translation services to explain care to the patient’s family, and maybe even an allergist to decide if the annual flu shot will be helpful or harmful in light of the patient’s other medical concerns—and that’s all outside of managing her everyday team!

(Video) What is interprofessional collaborative practice 1/7

Likewise, there are several initiatives at Penobscot Community Health Care that employ interprofessional practices to best serve their patients. One of these, the Transitions of Care Program conceived by the aforementioned Dr. Michael Christie, embraces the skills of five different roles to reduce hospital admission rates.

In this program, team members organize home visits with recently-released patients: a health informatician created and now maintains a software program to identify high-risk patients; the provider prescribes medications and healthcare regimens and coordinates the team; a pharmacist makes sure the patient receives the correct medication; a social worker checks in to make sure the patient has adequate transportation and can afford their bills (medical and otherwise); and a care manager visits to follow up on their general well-being. These professionals constantly check in with each other to provide updates and feedback on patients’ statuses, and adjust care plans as each situation warrants.

With this multi-team approach, the Transitions of Care Program saw a 38% reduction in hospital readmissions rates and a 5.3% reduction in the mortality rate in the first year. This is another example of how interprofessional practice has the potential to save lives.

Learn more

Are you interested in joining (or assembling) an interprofessional health team, but need additional education? Consider one of UNE Online’s graduate programs in the health professions by downloading our online program guide today:

By Allison Willard on October 26th, 2018 in Blog, Resources for Success

Tags: healthcare professions

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6 responses to “Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits”

  1. Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (2) Jenifer says:

    August 21, 2022 at 11:14 pm

    It’s a really interesting topic and it has helped me a lot. In fact, I also run a website with similar content to your posting. Please visit once. read more


  2. Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (3) Marie Beziat says:

    March 19, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    I’m trying to find the Transitions of Care Program conceived by Dr. Michael Christie that you cited. Do you have any link to it please ? I cannot seem to find it.
    thank you,


    (Video) Collaboration in Health Care: The Journey of an Accidental Expert? | Joy Doll | TEDxCreightonU

  3. Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (4) Jennifer says:

    February 14, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    I was not specific! What are the resources for the data about the Transaction care program regarding re-admission? I am assuming there was some sort of publications with the study that was done. Thanks!


  4. Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (5) Jennifer says:

    February 14, 2022 at 11:59 am

    Do you have resources for the information data that you had in your blog post?


  5. Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (6) comfortfinds says:

    March 30, 2020 at 7:06 am

    Well described!! Thanks for sharing this information.


    (Video) Students Learn to Collaborate as Interprofessional Health Care Team
  6. Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare: Basics & Benefits (7) pax says:

    March 14, 2020 at 1:05 am

    I want to express my gratitude to this writer who writes very well and cover all the information on the topic. I have never read this information before. This is really an amazing topic which means a lot.


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What are the 4 core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice? ›

The IPEC panel identified four core competency domains: 1) values and ethics; 2) roles and responsibilities for collaborative practice; 3) interprofessional communication; and 4) teamwork and team-based care.

What is meant by interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? ›

What is interprofessional collaboration? According to WHO: "Collaborative practice happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care across settings[1]."

What are the seven key components of effective interprofessional collaboration? ›

Elements of collaborative practice include responsibility, accountability, coordination, communication, cooperation, assertiveness, autonomy, and mutual trust and respect (7).

What are the principles of interprofessional collaboration? ›

Shared accountability, problem solving, and decision making are characteristics of collaborative teamwork. Team members establish a common goal, synthesize their observations and profession-specific expertise, and collaborate and communicate as a team.

What are the four key components of IPE? ›

Administrative and financial support, IP program infrastructure, experienced faculty, and the promotion of a collaborative culture among the different healthcare professions are the key elements to ensure the success of IPE programs.

What are the 6 interprofessional competencies? ›

National Interprofessional Competency Framework

Six competencies embedded in the framework include patient/client/family/community-centred care, interprofessional communication, role clarification, team functioning, collaborative leadership and interprofessional conflict resolution (CIHC, 2010).

What is the main goal of interprofessional in healthcare? ›

The goal of an interprofessional team is to provide patient-centered care in a collaborative manner. The team establishes a common goal and using their individual expertise, works in concert to achieve that patient-centered goal.

What is the purpose of interprofessional collaboration? ›

Interprofessional collaboration occurs when 2 or more professions work together to achieve common goals and is often used as a means for solving a variety of problems and complex issues.

What is the overall goal of interprofessional collaborative practice? ›

The goals of interprofessional collaborative practice are achieved when teams achieve a level of high reliability and produce consistent outcomes. High reliability teams (HRT) improve population health, enhance care experiences, address health equity, promote workforce well-being, and reduce costs.

What are the three 3 important aspects of collaboration? ›

Ok, so what are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?
  • Workplace communication. Intuitively, it makes sense that strong team communication skills support a culture of collaboration at work. ...
  • Respect for diversity in the workplace. ...
  • Build trust with employees.
Aug 25, 2022

What are the eight 8 key elements of collaborative practice? ›

7 Essential Elements of Collaboration
  • Cooperation.
  • Assertiveness.
  • Autonomy.
  • Responsibility/Accountability.
  • Communication.
  • Coordination.
  • Mutual Trust and Respect.

What are the 4 key elements of managing collaboration process? ›

Consensus decisions. Open communication. Clear roles and work assignments. Shared leadership.

What are the key characteristics of an interprofessional team? ›

Table 2
  • Good communication. ...
  • Respecting/understanding roles. ...
  • Appropriate skill mix. ...
  • Quality and outcomes of care. ...
  • Appropriate team processes and resources. ...
  • Clear vision. ...
  • Flexibility (of the team and the individuals within it) ...
  • Leadership and management.
May 10, 2013

What are the 3 approaches to IPE? ›

This chapter examines the three most important classical theories within the field of International Political Economy (IPE): mercantilism, economic liberalism, and neo-Marxism.

What are three traditional approaches to IPE? ›

Historically, three prominent approaches to IPE were the liberal, economic nationalist (mercantilist), and marxist perspectives.

What are IPE 3 barriers? ›

IPE Barriers

Scope of practice. Difficulties of delivering IPE in higher education. Traditional workplace hierarchy of top down approach, the collaborative IPE challenges these values and beliefs in order to change culture. Interprofessional feedback process across different professions and skill mix.

What are the 5 core competencies of a healthcare professional? ›

The skills needed by healthcare professionals were determined by a collaborative effort of healthcare leaders organized under the Healthcare Leadership Alliance. The skills are grouped under five core competencies: communication, leadership, professionalism, knowledge, and business skills.

What skills are needed for interprofessional working? ›

Teamwork behaviors include: o Cooperating in person-centered delivery of care. o Coordinating a participant's care with other professionals to avoid gaps, redundancies, and errors. o Collaborate with other members through shared problem solving and shared decision making. o Requiring a level of interdependence and ...

Which is most essential to a successful interprofessional team? ›

Possible essential factors for a high-functioning interprofessional team likely include mutual respect and trust, common goals, shared decision-making, clear roles and responsibilities, and a willingness to collaborate.

What are the benefits of partnership working in healthcare? ›

Working in partnership with people and communities creates a better chance of creating services that meet people's needs, improving their experience and outcomes. People have the knowledge, skills, experiences and connections services need to understand in order to support their physical and mental health.

What is the importance of interprofessional communication in healthcare? ›

Background. Effective interprofessional communication (IPC) between healthcare professionals promotes teamwork, improves patient care and boosts cost efficiency [1, 2]. IPC also encourages open, honest and frank discussions, facilitates negotiations and resolution of conflicts, and promotes shared decision making [3].

What are the benefits of interprofessional learning? ›

Successful interprofessional learning can develop students' ability to communicate and work with other professionals, potentially improving the environment for service users and professionals.” Medical students tend to be more negative about IPE (Lash et al.

How does interprofessional collaboration improve patient safety? ›

Patient safety experts agree that communication and teamwork skills are essential for providing quality health care. When all clinical and nonclinical staff collaborate effectively, health care teams can improve patient outcomes, prevent medical errors, improve efficiency and increase patient satisfaction.

Why is teamwork important in interprofessional collaboration? ›

Interprofessional teamwork provides a basis for establishing an integrated approach to healthcare that promotes and maintains the health of patients, while improving the effectiveness of healthcare delivery.

What factors facilitate interprofessional collaboration? ›

Interprofessional teams work collaboratively when trust and respect, communication, and shared vision are valued and present. Agencies coordinating interprofessional teams for community-based care could be pivotal in ensuring an environment conducive to collaboration, such as learning and team building opportunities.

What are the 6 principles of collaboration? ›

Out of this research six principles emerged. They are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. They form the acronym TIGERS®.

What are two 2 facilitating factors for effective interprofessional collaboration? ›

Factors that may enhance interprofessional collaboration between GPs and CPs include; an environment with sufficient resources to enable effective communication; close proximity between the two professions, and understanding each other's capabilities and roles.

WHAT ARE THE ABCS OF collaboration? ›

Accessible – Be approachable & available to your team & those who expect your insight & opinions. Benevolent – To be disposed and to want to do good is a key part of being collaborative with others. Challenge – Groupthink does not equal collaboration. To challenge is to professionally debate by collaborating.

What are 3 characteristics of collaborative partnerships? ›

There are three types of collaboration:
  • creative – where two or more people create something to achieve a specific goal,
  • connective – bringing together information from disparate sources, and.
  • compounding – where a team builds on previous achievements to reach further.
May 14, 2018

What are the six steps involved in the collaborative process? ›

Overview of the 6-Step Process
  • Step 1: Define Desired Outcomes and Actions. ...
  • Step 2: Endorse the Process. ...
  • Step 4: Develop Alternatives or Options. ...
  • Step 5: Evaluate, Select, and Refine Alternative or Option. ...
  • Step 6: Finalize Documentation and Evaluate the Process.

What are the top 10 skills to improve collaboration? ›

The Top 10 Collaborative Skills
  1. Communication. ...
  2. Listening and Understanding. ...
  3. Respect Diversity. ...
  4. Empathy & Emotional Intelligence. ...
  5. Conflict Resolution. ...
  6. Open-Mindedness. ...
  7. Knowledge-Sharing and Debate. ...
  8. Being Organized and Delegating Tasks.
Nov 26, 2022

What are the 4 C's of team structure and performance? ›

If you want to establish a team identity, you have to give your team an opportunity to openly discuss the 4 C's of a Team Identity: clarity, commitment, contribution, and concerns.

What are examples of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? ›

Collaborating as a team and communicating clear goals and findings with each other can help provide higher-quality care for patients. For example, if someone checks into the emergency room with shortness of breath, they may see multiple medical professionals who assess and diagnose the issue.

What are the seven key components of effective interprofessional CollaBoratIon? ›

Elements of collaborative practice include responsibility, accountability, coordination, communication, cooperation, assertiveness, autonomy, and mutual trust and respect (7).

What are common barriers to interprofessional CollaBoratIon? ›

InterProfessIonal CollaBoratIon

These barriers include lack of strong governance structure and leadership to manage complex practices; difficulties in establishing appropriate skill mix and team size; insuffi- cient space and time for communication and collaboration; and inadequate communication mechanisms and tools.

What are the 4 elements of core competencies? ›

Variables of the Four Core Competencies

The model focuses on a combination of specific, collaborative, integrated and applied knowledge, skills and attitude.

What are the 4 basic competencies? ›

Understanding the four stages of competency allows you to effectively employ strategies to move rapidly from one stage to the next.
  • Unconscious incompetence. ...
  • Conscious incompetence. ...
  • Conscious competence. ...
  • Unconscious competence.
Dec 12, 2019

What are the four 4 common competencies? ›

communication, engagement/charisma, delegation, respect.

What are four core competencies criteria? ›

Core Competencies Criteria

A resource or capability is a core competency if it is valuable, rare, costly to imitate, and non-substitutable.

What are the 5 C's of competency? ›

The five Cs are competence, confidence, connection, caring/compassion and character. The sixth C, contribution, is attained when a person has more fully realized the five C's. This series by Michigan State University Extension will look at each C and ways adults can encourage the development of these assets.

What are the 5 basic competencies? ›

The CASEL 5 addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence and highlights examples for each: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

What are the 7 competencies? ›

7 Universal Competencies for Success:
  • #1. Build Relationship: ...
  • #2. Develop people. ...
  • #3. Lead change. ...
  • #4. Inspire others. ...
  • #5. Think critically. ...
  • #6. Communicate clearly. ...
  • #7. Create accountability. ...
  • Tip: Use the seven universal competencies as a framework for feedback.
May 7, 2019

What are the 3 pillars of competency? ›

For Airmen there are three principal pillars that support the development of professional competence: professional training, personal experience, and classroom education.

What are the 3 main core competencies? ›

Competencies fall into three main categories: Core, Cross-functional and Functional. All are important, but there is a hierarchy.

What are the 3 5 key professional competencies? ›

Professional Competencies
  • Critical Thinking. Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions and find innovative solutions.
  • Professionalism. Demonstrate Integrity through work ethic, personal accountability, professional image, and ethical behavior.
  • Communication. ...
  • Teamwork.

What are the four C's of? ›

Do you know what they are? Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are considered the four c's and are all skills that are needed in order to succeed in today's world.

What are the 9 basic competencies? ›

world, particularly in contemporary careers and workplaces.

What are basic and core competencies? ›

Basic Competencies are the skills and knowledge needed by all people in a workplace. Common Competencies are the skills and knowledge needed by all people working in a particular industry. Core Competencies are the specific skills and knowledge needed in a particular area of work – industry sector/occupation/job role.

What are the six competency areas? ›

Six major competency areas are identified in their work: (1) opportunity, (2) organizing, (3) strategic, (4) relationship, (5) commitment, and (6) conceptual competencies.


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