Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Step in the Right Direction for Interprofessional Education

Valerie P. Pracilio, MPH
Project Manager for Quality Improvement

On May 18th, close to 250 professionals gathered together on the Jefferson campus in Philadelphia to explore ways to redefine education and practice to focus on interprofessional collaboration.

The conference, sponsored by the Jefferson InterProfessional Education Center (JCIPE), attracted key leaders in interprofessional education, including Dr. Carol Aschenbrener from AAMC and Dr. Susan Meyer from the University of Pittsburgh. There is clearly an impetus for change to bring professionals from different disciplines together to practice collaboratively for the benefit of their patients.

Both Dr. Aschenbrener and Dr. Meyer were integral in the development of interprofessional core competencies, which were released a year ago. The competencies serve as the framework for collaborative practice and set the stage for the meeting.  The program highlighted experiences of professionals working to educate and assess competency at their institutions.

A few take-home insights from the conference include:
  • Leadership is needed at the faculty level to integrate interprofessional practice  into the curriculum. Faculty leading those efforts should also represent multiple disciplines.
  • Improvement methodologies such as complexity science and TeamSTEPPS  – a teamwork system designed for health care professionals –  were given as examples of useful tools for collaboration.
  • Students are interested in opportunities to engage with their colleagues through practical experiences, including interactions with patients and opportunities to discuss clinical experiences and challenges.

Dr. Aschenbrener said, “The closer we move toward integration the less team-based care will be an option – it will become a requirement."

Interprofessional collaboration presents an enormous opportunity to learn from one another. Let’s make it happen!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Guest Commentary: The Many Meanings of Population Health

Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Jefferson School of Population Health

Last month, I attended the 2012 Keeneland Conference for Public Health Systems and Services Research (PHSSR). This growing body of research examines the organization, financing and delivery of public health services within a community and determines the links between the quality and performance of the public health system and population health outcomes. The conference brought together researchers and practitioners with an eye toward translating research into practice and policy through information exchange, feedback, and collaboration.

Keynote presenters at this year’s Keeneland Conference focused much of their presentations and discussion on defining population health in the context of public health systems, primary care, and the Affordable Care Act. Presenters and attendees seemed to agree that the term “population health” means very different things to different stakeholders. Public health practitioners focus their efforts toward community health, and consider the public to be the population of interest. Health care providers tend to think of population health as the health of their patient population. Insurers and employers think of population health in terms of their enrollees or employees.

The PHSSR research agenda defines the public health workforce, public health systems structure and performance, public health financing and economics, and public health information technology as its top research priorities. These closely align with many of the priorities set forward in other areas of health-related research. Although there are disparate perspectives about the definition of population health, there is no question that a paradigm shift from treatment to prevention is occurring across the United States. As a PHSSR researcher, I look forward to seeing the impact of current research on future practice and policy and ultimately on people’s health.