Recently, with colleagues I published a typology of interprofessional work which classified activities into four forms: teamwork, collaboration, coordination and networking (Reeves et al 2010 – Interprofessional Teamwork for Health and Social Care). We differentiated these forms of interprofessional work as follows: teamwork was seen as encompassing a number of elements such as shared team identity, clarity of roles, interdependence between team members, integration of tasks and shared responsibility. In contrast, collaboration was a “looser” form of interprofessional work, as shared identity and integration of individuals were less important, but there were some shared accountability and interdependence between professions. For coordination, while there was some sense of shared identity, integration and interdependence were less important; there was also little shared accountability or clarity of roles, tasks and goals. Lastly, networking was a relationship in which shared team identity, clarity of roles/goals, interdependence and shared responsibility were less essential; networks were therefore seen as virtual, whereby none of the members necessarily needed to meet face to face, as they could communicate online in an asynchronous manner.
The aim of presenting this topology here is to provide a reminder that we have, so far, neglected to incorporate other forms of interprofessional work, which occur across a range of health and social care settings. Teamwork is one form, but we also need to think about developing competency statements that reflect these wider forms of interprofessional work.
The second issue is focused on measurement. At the moment, we are not clear about how to robustly measure (assess) the many different statements which make up the interprofessional competency frameworks. Importantly, each of the competency statements is very complex in its composition. Each statement can combine multi-faceted attributes related to collaborative attitudes, values, knowledge, skills and behaviors – packaged together in a single sentence. However, it is difficult to see how to tease apart each of the embedded attributes and measure them in a rigorous manner.
Efforts to date, which have used self-assessment approaches, only provide a limited form of evidence. We therefore need to embrace other assessment methods, such as observation of performance.
Another measurement difficulty is that the unit of analysis for these interprofessional competency frameworks is focused on the individual learner. Although this focus is appropriate, as assessment of individuals is extremely important, it overlooks any measurement of the shared learning experience. We fail to assess collectively the interprofessional group or team of learners. This oversight is arguably an important limitation, as we are not focusing on a key element of interprofessional education – its shared, collective approach. We therefore need to better understand, through measurement, this dimension.
To read more – go to: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.3109/13561820.2012.695542