Research about Interprofessional Education and Practice
Selected overviews of IPE/Historical perspectives
A brief summary of the researchHundreds of studies have been conducted about interprofessional education and practice. Three meta analyses that attempted to synthesize the findings are mentioned below.
When Zwarenstein et al. (2001) conducted a Cochrane review they looked for impact on patients/clients resulting from IPE. Findings from this systematic review revealed that there was no evidence (in respect to randomized controlled trials, controlled-before-and-after or time interrupted series studies) for the effectiveness of IPE on patient/client outcomes.
A review by Freeth et al. (2002) included other outcome measures (beyond patient/client care outcomes) and used a wider search strategy to answer the question: What types of interprofessional education under what circumstances result in what types of outcome? From the 353 peer-reviewed studies that qualified for inclusion, 107 higher-quality studies were identified. 79% of these were post-licensure initiatives. Barr et al. (2005) summarized the findings from these 107 studies as supporting the claims that interprofesional education (1) creates positive interaction, (2) encourages collaboration between professions and (3) improves client care.
A 2004 review for Health Canada by Oandasan et al. resulted in Interdisciplinary Education For Collaborative, Patient-Centred Practice Research and Findings Report (300-page PDF file). The online version summarizes the findings. Oandasan et al. reviewed 8 previous reports about IPE (including the Zwarenstein et al. and Freeth et al. reports) and conducted a search for research conducted since 2002. They concluded that evidence for positive results from pre-licensure IPE initiatives was still lacking, although they qualify this finding, as have others, by stating that a lack of evidence is not necessarily negative evidence.
Regarding post-licensure collaboration interventions, Oandasan et al conclude that benefits were shown in 11 of the 14 post-licensure studies they reviewed. "Five of these studies were able to demonstrate statistically significant and clinically important outcome differences in patient mortality rates, decline in healthy function, and other highly patient relevant outcomes. The remainder were effective in achieving process changes, also of importance, but not explicitly connected in the studies to patient health outcomes." p. 49