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Interprofessional Educational Opportunities and Medical Students’ Understanding of the Collaborative Care of Patients

October 2014 Analysis in Brief

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Interest in promoting interprofessional education (IPE) in U.S. medical and other health professions schools is not new, but has received a renewed attention over the past several years. Further, the focus on improving the health care system by providing higher-quality, low-cost care has intensified the need for providing care through interdisciplinary teams. This Analysis in Brief examines medical students’ reports of curricula-based IPE opportunities in their training. Results show that over two-thirds of respondents reported having had curricular-based opportunities to learn with students from different health professions. The findings of this study also suggest that medical students who learn alongside students from a greater number of other health professions also report having 1) a better understanding of collaborative, interprofessional care of patients, and 2) significantly higher levels of overall satisfaction with their medical training. These observed relationships do not imply causality; rather, they indicate that a greater diversity of IPE opportunities is associated with other educational and curricular experiences that enhance students’ understanding of interprofessional care and increase overall satisfaction with medical training.

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