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 is to develop guidelines for preparing health professionals 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 related to the rising cost of healthcare, improving access to care for underserved populations and providing quality care. This concept is in keeping with the Triple Aim framework as an approach described by the 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 is not realized at the individual level, but at the community level. The triple aim creates a metric that allows the healthcare system to partner with providers to improve the health of the population,3 improve medical management,4 and transform healthcare reimbursement models.5 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. 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.

In 2016, the CCIPCP updated the Core Competencies to focus on a single domain, Interprofessional Collaboration. The core concept of the four competencies is collaboration.6 According to the CCIPCP, the updated competencies provide more integration of population health and have a greater focus on population health, which is consistent with the Triple Aim. The updated competencies include sub-competencies that further elaborate each of the core competencies’ aim to utilize measurable learner objectives that allow different professions to track outcomes.

The updated 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 to promote and advance the health of populations served.
  • Interprofessional Communication: Communicate with patients, families, communities, and other health professionals in health and other fields in a responsive and responsible manner that supports a team approach to the promotion and maintenance of health and the prevention 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, deliver, and evaluate patient/population-centered care and population health programs and policies that are safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.

The updated CCIPCP similarly highlight some foundational characteristics that are necessary for oral healthcare professionals that encompass shared values relevant across other health professions. Concepts represented in the CCIPCP 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.

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