Interprofessional Education: A Perspective From India

Interprofessional Education: A Perspective From India

Izhar Faisal (Medeor Hospital, India), Saima Salam (Lal Ded Hospital-Government Medical College, Srinagar, India) and Manisha Arora (Delhi Pain Management Centre, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3066-5.ch013


With an ever worsening shortage of healthcare workers, there has been a global shift towards strengthening of interprofessional education (IPE). IPE has existed as a powerful tool in developed countries, but in developing countries like India, it is still in its infancy. Several models of interprofessional education exist, yet India lags behind in implementing these models in academic curricula. Rudimentary curriculum, inefficient healthcare system, and maldistribution of health professionals are some of the potential barriers. A complete overhaul of the healthcare system along with progressive strategies of incorporation of IPE needs to be debated, and associated limitations need to be addressed. Adequate institutional support, well-constructed protocols, infrastructural revamp, and change of workplace culture are vital for IPE to succeed and be sustainable. This chapter provides an overview of IPE and collaborative practice in Indian settings and presents an account of an Indian institution utilizing IPP approach and highlights potential challenges in incorporating IPE in the academic curriculum.
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“Interprofessional education is a necessary step in preparing a collaborative practice-ready health workforce that is better prepared to respond to local health needs” (WHO, 2010)



Interprofessional Education (IPE) is not a recent concept; it has existed as a powerful tool in developed countries for past several years. Early initiative dates back to 1940s in USA, 1960s in Canada, 1970s in Sweden and Australia (Nisbet, Lee, Kumar, Thistlethwaite, & Dunston, 2011) and 1980s in United Kingdom (Barr, 2014) . The World Health Organization (WHO) reports, “Continuing Education for Physicians” (World Health Organization [WHO], 1973) and “Learning together to work together for health” (WHO, 1988) in late 1980s were the main driving force for popularity of IPE. The 59th World Health Assembly (WHA) recognized that shortages of the health workers are interfering with efforts to achieve the internationally agreed health related development goals (WHO, 2006). It urges member states to use innovative approaches to teaching with state of the art teaching materials and continuing education through the innovative use of information and technology (WHO, 2006).

With the ever-worsening shortage of health care workers globally, a constant rise of ageing population and increasing incidence of chronic and complex conditions as well as professional silos, wherein health professions are educated and practice separately, the change of vision and strategy for education of health care professionals has become imperative. A thorough understanding of roles and responsibilities of each health profession and collaborative practice is need of the hour.

According to Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE), the aim of interprofessional education is to improve patient care through an interactive learning process wherein two or more professionals learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care (Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education [CAIPE], 2002).

WHO has been a supporter of Interprofessional Education for Collaborative Practice (IPECP) and to facilitate implementation; it came up with recommendations and framework for Action (WHO, 2010) for interprofessional education. With regards to IPE, it states that ‘Health professional’s education and training institutions should consider implementing interprofessional education in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes’ while recognizing that the quality of the evidence supporting this recommendation is low, and the strength of the recommendation is conditional (WHO, 2013).

The past decade or so has seen global shift towards strengthening of IPE, however in developing countries like India it’s still in nascent stages. At present, India lags behind developed countries in implementation of IPE, therefore, there is a dire need to support interprofessional education within the Indian academic curriculum. Academic programmes must be tailored to train students, both academically and experientially, in concepts and practices of IPE so that a workforce is created that can educate and train other educators, practicing professionals and future practitioners in this field.

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