Interprofessionality: Teaching Team-Based Care

The material presented in this website provides clinicians with practical tools to assist them in the intentional inclusion of interprofessional education while working with health profession students.


Today’s patients have complex health needs that typically require more than one discipline to address the issues regarding their health status.1 To achieve the best outcomes, teams of health professionals should deliver care.

“As clinicians, we must ask ourselves if we are optimizing team-based care and are we exposing our students to team-based care.”
–Ruth Goldblatt, DMD, Clinical Associate Professor,
University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine

In 2001, a recommendation by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Quality of Health Care in America suggested that health care professionals working in interprofessional teams could best communicate and address these complex and challenging needs.2

Primary care practices are well positioned for interprofessional collaborative practice, and will be instrumental in including interprofessional education while working with health profession students.

“Experiential learning in a real work environment is critical to teaching students about collaborative practice.”
–Devra Dang, PharmD, Associate Clinical Professor, University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy

In May 2011, six national associations of schools of the health professions published the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, which emphasizes the importance of understanding the roles and responsibilities of one’s own profession first and foremost. Following that, professionals should, the report said, gain knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of all health care professionals with whom they will interact. This knowledge base was thought to be fundamental to the later creation of open dialogue about patient-centered, team-based care.3


Is the process by which professionals reflect on and develop ways of practicing that provides an integrated and cohesive answer to the needs of the client/family/population.4

Why is interprofessionality important?

  • Increases access to health care
  • Improves outcomes for people with chronic diseases
  • Lessens tension and conflict among caregivers
  • Better use of clinical resources
  • Easier recruitment of caregivers
  • Lowers rate of staff turnover

What has driven the need for interprofessionality?

The landscape for health care delivery has changed with the incorporation of the patient medical home model and accountable care organization. Health profession schools recognize the importance of interprofessional teaching methods to provide students with the skills necessary for working in today’s health care environment.

Accountable Care Organization (ACO)

An ACO is a network of doctors and hospitals that shares responsibility for providing coordinated care to patients in hopes of limiting unnecessary spending.5

Patient Centered Medical Home

The medical home model holds promise as a way to improve health care in America by transforming how primary care is organized and delivered. Building on the work of a large and growing community, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) defines a medical home not simply as a place but as a model of the organization of primary care that delivers the core functions of primary health care.6, 7

Health Profession School Accreditation Standards

Health profession schools have introduced standards for including interprofessional education into the core curriculum that prepares students to function collaboratively on health care teams as they care for patients. These include schools of medicine, nursing, dental and pharmacy. For a list of specific competencies see Advancing Interprofessional Clinical Prevention and Population Health Education: Curriculum Development Guide for Health Professions Faculty.