Outgoing PAEA CEO Timi Agar Barwick spent one of her last days at PAEA boosting interprofessional education (IPE) on a panel with three other retiring CEOs of health professions education associations. IPE is poised to break out of its largely academic constraints and take deeper root in the practice environment, Barwick stated in her remarks on the panel. “IPE used to be conceptual and now it’s practical,” said Barwick. “People have a deeper understanding of IPE and a higher degree of ownership. And hopefully soon we’ll have research to show that it means better patient care.”
The panel was hosted by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC), a federation of 14 national health education associations established to “prepare future health professionals for enhanced team-based care of patients and improved population health outcomes.” PAEA joined the collaborative in 2016. One of the group’s most substantive products is the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, which were most recently revised in 2016. These competencies were one of the documents consulted by PAEA’s Core Competencies for New Graduates Task Force when it developed the new graduate competencies in 2018. The requirement for PA students to be educated to work in interprofessional teams has been in the profession’s accreditation standards since 2010.
Barwick was joined on the panel by three other CEOs who are retiring in the next few weeks: Darrel Kirch, MD, of the Association of American Medical Colleges; Stephen Shannon, DO, of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine; and Rick Valachovic, DMD, of the American Dental Association.
All agreed that IPE is ready to move to the next level. “IPE has moved from concept to practice,” said Kirch. “IPEC was a ‘start up’ with a high risk of failure. And it went through a critical phase of leadership transition. There was also a question whether it could it be successfully broadened — the answer is ‘yes, it has been.’”
The panelists also emphasized the importance of IPE to value-based care, in which reimbursement is tied to the “value” delivered by providers in terms of the cost and quality of care.
“If we are not producing a workforce that is interprofessional, we will not have good value-based care,” noted Kirch. “How do you get to good value-based care? By having the right professional doing the right things at the right time.”
Barwick stressed the need to keep patients in mind as the ultimate goal of IPE and all health professions education. “If education is taking the lead in the collaborative space, we need to focus on patients because that’s our connection to practice. We need to get the patient story out there.”