Summary: Implementation of interprofessional learning activities in a professional practicum: The emerging role of technology

By | 16th May 2015
To prepare future healthcare professionals to collaborate effectively, many universities have developed interprofessional education programs (IPE). Till date, these programs have been mostly courses or clinical simulation experiences. Few attempts have been made to pursue IPE in healthcare clinical settings.
A recent pilot study in four healthcare settings by Isabelle Brault and colleagues addresses interprofessional learning activities (ILAs) implemented during students’ professional practicum, and discusses the actual and potential use of informatics in the ILA implementation. Analysis was conducted based on focus group interviews with trainees, clinical supervisors, ILA coordinators, and education managers. 
Overall, ILAs led to better clarification of roles and understanding of each professional’s specific expertise. Informatics was helpful for developing a common language about IPE between trainees and healthcare professionals; opportunities for future application of informatics were noted. 
The study results support the relevance of ILAs and the value of promoting professional exchanges between students of different professions, both in academia and in the clinical setting. Informatics appears to offer opportunities for networking among students from different professions and for team members’ professional development. The use of technology facilitated communication among the participants.

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