Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice

In May of 2011, the Interprofessional Education Collaborative, a panel of experts representing the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Dental Education Association, Association of American Medical Colleges and the Association of Schools of Public Health convened to develop a set of competencies for ICP.2 The panel identified four Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (CCIPCP). The focus of these competencies are to develop guidelines for preparing health professionals to focus focus of these competencies is to provide quality patient-centered care and population health in evolving health care systems in which team-based care is necessary. The competencies could act as one potential strategy for addressing issues in healthcare relating to the rising cost of healthcare, improvement of access to care for underserved populations and providing quality care. This concept is in keeping with the Triple Aim framework an approach described by Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to optimize the delivery of healthcare, by improving the patients experience, improving population health and reducing the per capita cost of requiring a collaborative approach to the complex health conditions that are increasingly more common in the populations we serve. The Triple Aim framework is designed to improve health, which requires the engagement of stakeholders with a community to speak to broad determinants of health and not one single dimension. In this regard true health not realized at the individual level, but at the community level. The triple aim creates metric that allows the health care system to partners with providers to improve the health of the population,3 improving medical management,4 and transform the healthcare reimbursement models. IPEC identified four core competences, which could be implemented as common core concepts in health profession educational programs that would be broad enough to encompass multiple professions, but be flexible enough to account for the uniqueness that exists between professions.5 The CCIPCP are framed in such a way that collaborative teams can be evaluated on the effectiveness of team-based care for those complex patients that require care from multiple providers.

The CCIPCP are as follows:

  • Values/Ethics for Interprofessional Practice: Work with individuals of other professions to maintain a climate of mutual respect and shared values.
  • Roles/Responsibilities for Collaborative Practice: Use the knowledge of one’s own role and the roles of other professions to appropriately assess and address the health care needs of the patients and populations served.
  • Interprofessional Communication: Communicate with patients, families, communities, and other health professionals in a responsive and responsible manner that supports a team approach to maintaining health and treatment of disease.
  • Interprofessional Teamwork and Team-based Care: Apply relationship-building values and the principles of team dynamics to perform effectively in different team roles to plan and deliver patient/population-centered care that is safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.

The CCIPCP highlight some foundational characteristics that are necessary for oral healthcare professionals that encompass shared values relevant across other health professions. Concepts represented in the CCIPC are typified in some statements that appear in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Professionalism as well as the Code of Ethics for Dental Hygienists and are part of the day-to-day practice of an oral healthcare provider. For example, the Dental Hygiene code states “develop collaborative professional relationships and exchange knowledge to enhance our own lifelong professional development,” while the ADA code says” …the dentist’s primary obligations include keeping knowledge and skills current, knowing one’s own limitations and when to refer to a specialist or other professional…” As new practice models are evolving, oral healthcare providers are practicing in rural settings, urban settings, in community health centers, etc., and they will need to acquire the skills needed to work with an interprofessional collaborative team to help promote oral health and treat the growing number of patients with complex medical and mental conditions.