How to Build Effective Interprofessional Healthcare Teams

How to Build Effective Interprofessional Healthcare Teams

Stefanie R. Ellison (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, USA), Christi L. Bartlett (University of Kansas Medical Center, USA) and Valerie L. Ruehter (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3066-5.ch001


Building effective interprofessional (IP) teams is an important process for healthcare systems across the world. In order to be truly effective, professional degree programs must teach our future health professionals to learn and collaborate on teams during their education. The goal of building effective IP healthcare teams will be achieved when each healthcare system effectively supports IP collaboration, the development of dynamic teams, and the appropriate use of resources. Advancing the effort to build effective IP healthcare teams will take an investment from key stakeholders such as educators, faculty and students, leaders and researchers in academic medicine, hospital and system administrators, policymakers, as well as patients and their families to create a culture of IP collaboration and provide the resources necessary to be sustainable and successful. This chapter will serve to show that effective IP healthcare teams can successfully improve patient outcomes, provide quality care, improve the healthcare team's experience, and reduce costs.
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Interprofessional teams are an imperative for all health systems in the current healthcare work force in the United States. These teams are what patients and their families, as well as the healthcare providers, deserve and need to provide compassionate, high quality, state-of-the-art care. Defining effective and efficient care is difficult but included in this book chapter are definitions of effective interprofessional teams, examples of published standards for interprofessional care that improve patient outcomes, and examples of interprofessional teams that function to support the Quadruple Aim. This is the foundation to help healthcare organizations and health professions programs to educate and build effective IP teams for healthcare.

Health professions education in the United States and Canada now incorporates interprofessional education (IPE) in the curricula for most if not all health professional degree programs because there are existing accreditation criteria for degrees in dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy. In order to construct IP teams, it is important to know and understand key definitions and terms for Interprofessional Education (IPE), Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (ICPT), Interprofessional Teamwork (IPT), and Interprofessional Team-Based Care (IPTBC) (Table 1).

Table 1.
Consensus terminology in the published literature
Interprofessional Education (IPE)“When students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.”WHO*
Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP)“When multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, careers†, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”WHO*
Interprofessional Teamwork (IPT)“The levels of cooperation, coordination and collaboration characterizing the relationships between professions in delivering patient-centered care.”IPEC‡
Interprofessional Team-Based Care (IPTBC)“Care delivered by intentionally created, usually relatively small work groups in health care who are recognized by others as well as by themselves as having a collective identity and shared responsibility for a patient or group of patients (e.g., rapid response team, palliative care team, primary care team, and operating room team).”IPEC‡

* World Health Organization (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education & collaborative practice. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from

The term “caregivers” is more commonly used in the United States.

Interprofessional Education Collaborative (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 update. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from DC06780E69ED19E2B3A5&disposition=0&alloworigin=1.

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