Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice

Sometimes I wonder: do the doctors, pharmacists and nurses view their profession as their own entity, or as a collective group as Health Workers? I think this perception is elemental in shaping the working culture in the health industry. Do the doctors feel that they are superior to the nurse or dietician?

My observation tells me that the culture of hierarchy is inevitable in the hospital setting, for a very simple reason. All of them have been isolated, given specific education and inserted with different set of values. Totally no interaction (or minimal) during the education process. How can we expect a strong army of Health Troops if the soldiers are never trained together during the exercise?

What is the problem?

Poor communication, poor collaboration and of course, poor outcomes for the patients.

There is one solution. WHO has proposed a Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice. The research evidence from 42 countries have shown a number of promising results:

Collaborative practice can improve:

  • access to and coordination of health-services
  • appropriate use of specialist clinical resources
  • health outcomes for people with chronic diseases
  • patient care and safety


Collaborative practice can decrease:

  • total patient complications
  • length of hospital stay
  • tension and conflict among caregivers
  • staff turnover
  • hospital admissions
  • clinical error rates
  • mortality rates


In community mental health settings, collaborative practice can:

  • increase patient and carer satisfaction
  • promote greater acceptance of treatment
  • reduce duration of treatment
  • reduce cost of care
  • reduce incidence of suicide
  • increase treatment for psychiatric disorders
  • reduce outpatient visits

My conclusion is that Interprofessional Education has a very good potential to improve the health delivery in Indonesia. Perhaps the key players in the Medical Education should starting thinking how to integrate the Interprofessional Education in the medical curriculm. UGM Medical School has not taken any initiative yet because until now I haven’’t interacted with any students from the nursing school, pharmacy school nor dietician school. Time for a CHANGE !

Reference: WHO Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education & Collaborative Practice.

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