Classifying interprofessional interventions

By | 4th April 2011

Despite a growing amount of research on interprofessional interventions to promote collaboration and teamwork, systematic reviews in the interprofessional field have indicated that there was a continuing problem with the conceptualisation of different types of interprofessional educational and practice interventions.  Clarity has been traditionally inhibited by the lack of a robust evidence base for the effects of these interventions resulting in confusion between them, as can be seen in the variety of overlapping terms such as ‘interprofessional learning’, ‘interdisciplinary teamwork’ and ‘transdisciplinary practice’ which have been employed.  With colleagues, I undertook a scoping review to develop an empirically tested understanding of interprofessional interventions (including teamwork).  This project has involved a review of research to develop a model for helping to categorise interprofessional interventions.  Findings from an analysis of over 100 papers revealed three main types of interprofessional intervention:  (1) Education-based interventions: defined as those which included a curriculum with explicitly stated learning objectives/outcomes and learning activities (e.g. teamwork exercises, simulation, site visits and placements).  Examples ranged from pre-qualification interprofessional education initiatives which aimed to develop teamwork skills to post-qualification interprofessional education activities which focused on developing knowledge of different team members professional roles. (2) Practice-based interventions: defined as those which aimed to improve how professionals interact in practice.  Examples included the use of interprofessional meetings and communication tools such as checklists. (2) Organisation-based interventions: defined as those which aimed to affect interprofessional collaboration or teamwork by the use of organisational means such as the introduction of staffing policies or guidelines designed to enhance teamwork or the reconfiguration of workspace to promote the frequency and quality of interprofessional interactions. 
(Scott Reeves, Editor-in-Chief)
To read more see: To read more see: Reeves S, Zwarenstein M, Espin S, Lewin S (2010) Interprofessional Teamwork for Health and Social Care. Blackwell-Wiley, London.