There’s no question that speech-language pathologists and audiologists collaborate with a number of counterparts when working to treat their patients. They work together in schools with teachers, parents, and administrators to create and implement treatment plans for their clients. In hospitals and private facilities, they work together with staff, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, and many others. In fact, it’s rare when a healthcare professional works alone with a patient. Why is this? One reason is growing evidence showing that interprofessional practice (IPP) is linked to improved patient outcomes, which is a top priority of any health professional.
Since we know that interprofessional practice, especially when done well, leads to better outcomes for patients, why are we not preparing students for these inevitable and critical situations? According to an article in the November issue of the ASHA Leader, “Only 29 percent of audiologists and SLPs who report engaging in IPP in their work settings have had formal education or training on IPP.”
One reason for this lack of formal education could be due to a shortage of resources or insufficient awareness around the importance of interprofessional collaboration. Another explanation could be the assumption that this type of education should be learned on the job. Whatever the answer may be, interprofessional training must be incorporated into formal education. In fact, the World Health Organization reported in a 2010 study that “there is now sufficient evidence to indicate that interprofessional education enables effective collaborative practice which in turn optimizes health-services, strengthens health systems and improves health outcomes.”
As a result, we just published a new edition of Interprofessional Health Care Teams: Leadership and Development by noted expert on interprofessional teams, Dr. Donna Weiss, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. This text is a how-to guide for creating effective, sustainable interprofesisonal teams in any health care setting. If you’re a faculty member looking to incorporate interprofessional education into your curriculum, or a professional looking for guidance on implementing a team in your workplace, you’ll want to check this out. The textbook is available at go.jblearning.com/Weiss2e.