IPECP in Post-COVID Healthcare Education and Practice Transformation Era - Joint Discussion Paper

Citation: Khalili, H., Park, V., Daulton, B., Langlois, S., Wetzlmair, L. C., MacMillan, K. M., El-Awaisi, A., Green, C., Ballard, J., Pandey, J. Konrad, S. C., Frost, J., Başer Kolcu, M. I.., Kolcu, G., McCartan, C., Baugh, G., Gaboury, I., Breitbach, A., Brown, R., Pfeifle, A. (2022). Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (IPECP) in Post-COVID Healthcare Education and Practice Transformation Era – Discussion Paper. Joint Publication by InterprofessionalResearch.Global, American Interprofessional Health Collaborative & Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative, ISBN: 978-1-7366963-3-0. Available at www.interprofessionalresearch.global

Executive Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic was, and continues to be, a once in a generation event, transcending healthcare and producing disruptions in all aspects of life on a global scale. Clinical services across the continuum of healthcare had to quickly pivot to telehealth and virtual care where possible. Similarly, healthcare education was forced into a new pedagogical paradigm of remote learning on an emergency basis. This report undertaken by InterprofessionalResearch.Global (IPR.Global) has reflected on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on interprofessional education and collaborative practice (IPECP) from two perspectives:

  • IPECP and Healthcare Education and Practice at a Cross Point
  • From Momentum to a Movement: Ways to Integrate and Sustain IPECP in Healthcare Education and Practice

Frontline healthcare and educational institutions alike have leveraged technology to ensure continuity in the face of the pandemic, but this leveraging has laid bare the breadth of digital divide and subsequent inequities when it comes to accessing care or participating in education. This paradigm shift has required educators and practice leaders to rethink traditional models of pedagogy and care, and has posed many challenges. Resourcing of teaching spaces to facilitate public health restrictions and access to online spaces for those with equity issues has been a considerable hurdle. With that said, the pandemic has also facilitated many new learning opportunities, as transitioning away from the traditional logistics of in-person learning and the barrier of geographic location can allow for greater opportunity to learn with, from, and about other professions, fostering collaboration locally and on the global stage. This rapid advancement of pedagogy requires evaluation, research, and review of learning outcomes to determine effective and best IPECP approaches.

The role and use of digital technologies in healthcare education and practice have been extended and solidified by the pandemic, but educators and researchers must reflect on the best use of these technologies, build an evidence base to evolve the use of technology going forward and address factors which lead to inequity in access. Simulation-based education has traditionally relied on advanced computerized mannequins, and more recently, virtual reality, to produce high-fidelity simulation experiences. These technologies were largely inaccessible during the pandemic. Innovation moved simulated environments online and advanced the pedagogy of IPE simulation substantially. Similarly, and at times via simulation, telehealth services and telehealth training has brought interprofessional team members together. The pandemic has shown us that appropriate training in providing telehealth services is essential for positive patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Despite IPECP being an integral component of promoting patient safety, and holistic, quality care, silos continue to exist. Furthermore, implementation of the Quintuple Aim (better health, better care, better value, better work experience, and better health equity), particularly through the lens of equity, remains elusive. Society requires a healthcare system that is resilient to disruptions and consistently delivers high-quality care. The pandemic has amplified the importance of this resilience and has shown vulnerabilities such as strategic planning, professional training and interprofessional protocols must be addressed via a system-based collaborative approach of healthcare resilience.

Interprofessional collaboration during the pandemic was able to foster healthcare transformation in a number of ways at the policy and legislative level, such as the fast-tracking of internationally trained professions. Macro-level policies acknowledging the importance of population health are key for future interprofessional collaboration of stakeholders to address inequalities. Similarly, interprofessional collaboration is key to addressing the proliferation of misinformation. Misinformation during (and predating) the pandemic has given rise to a number of ‘conspiracy theories’ which have been amplified by social media. IPECP can be effectively utilized to combat misinformation by increasing health literacy amongst health professions and the communities they serve.

Emerging from the pandemic, IPECP leaders have considerable experience and lessons learned pertaining to developing, delivering, and integrating IPE and interprofessional practice in novel ways leveraging technology. Pedagogy has been advanced and challenges which existed pre-pandemic have been addressed through new ways of learning with, from, and about each other. Societal inequities have been identified, along with ways to mitigate lack of access to affected groups. IPECP has influenced system-level transformation and innovation and has proven to be a resilient framework to provide safe, holistic care to patients. Going forward, the integration and sustainability of IPECP are crucial and the experience of IPECP within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic should be reflected on, researched, and evaluated to inform future global healthcare systems and the workforce to provide and achieve the Quintuple Aim; the goal of all in healthcare.

Full Publication

To review and download the full publication, please follow the link here: IPECP in Post-COVID Healthcare Education and Practice Transformation Era – Joint Discussion Paper.

About the Publication

As we are emerging out of the Pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to leverage on the lessons learned from the pandemic in fostering the healthcare transformation through innovation and IPECP. To capitalize on this opportunity and in a collaborative effort, the InterprofessionalResearch.Global (IPR.Global), the American Interprofessional Health Collaborative (AIHC), and the Canadian Interprofessional Health Collaborative (CIHC) have developed this e-book as a Discussion Paper to explore and discuss (from a global perspective) the impact and application of healthcare education and practice transformation on IPECP as we emerge from the COVID Pandemic with the goal to identify best practices to integrate and sustain IPECP.

We call the interprofessional educators, practitioners, leaders, scholars, and policy makers to utilize both ‘Forward Thinking and Adaptability’ and ‘Sustainability and Growth’ in their IPECP approaches and strategies, to achieve Quintuple Aim. As learned during the Pandemic, working together – across professions, institutions, nationally, and globally – is essential in emerging stronger and in transforming our healthcare education and practice.