Most health care providers today have not been trained to work as part of integrated teams.
This presents a limitation in patient care settings, where they must interact with providers from other professions to share information, execute quality and safety checks and help patients understand and comply with treatment plans.
Research has long suggested that interprofessional collaboration improves coordination, communication and, ultimately, the quality and safety of patient care. It utilizes both the individual and collective skills and experience of team members, allowing them to function more effectively and deliver a higher level of services than each would working alone.
To date, this kind of care has not been widely implemented outside of discrete settings such as intensive care units, trauma and transplant teams.
This Health Policy Snapshot, published online in September 2011, discusses why interprofessional collaboration is important and explores ways it can be fostered.
Read more from RWJF's Health Policy Snapshot series.