5 Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare (2023)

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5 Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare (1)

By Will O'Connor M.D., CMIO at TigerConnect


Modern healthcare is a team sport, especially in hospitals. The typical inpatient experience features a cadre of health professionals working together to deliver quality care and stellar patient experience. Except, how much are they actually working together? Unless they have regular meetings or secure digital communications tools, the answer is likely not much.

That’s a problem, because as medicine becomes increasingly specialized, care teams become more crowded, and interprofessional collaboration in healthcare is more important than ever.

So, what exactly is interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? Why should it be a priority for your organization? And what hospital communication technology do you need to keep your team connected — across health professions, shifts, and even locations?

What Is Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare?

The World Health Organization defines it as “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work[ing] together with patients, families, carers (caregivers), and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.”

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The Collaboration Platform Built for Healthcare


You could argue that’s what hospital teams have always done. But interprofessional collaboration is about more than data sharing and efficient communication between nurses and physicians. It requires all care team members to engage with the patient and with each other, and it requires leaders to put their egos aside for the good of the patient.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation addresses the inherent power struggles and necessary culture changes in its definition of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare: “Effective interprofessional collaboration promotes the active participation of each discipline in patient care, where all disciplines are working together and fully engaging patients and those who support them, and leadership on the team adapts based on patient needs … It fosters respect for the disciplinary contributions of all professionals.”

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare isn’t a new concept. In 1972, the Institute of Medicine called for team-based patient care as a way to improve patient outcomes and safety. The idea took a while to catch on, but it’s been a trending topic since 2009, when the nation’s leading healthcare education associations partnered to form the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC).

Since then, the World Health Organization and other global healthcare organizations have repeatedly stressed the need for interprofessional education as a way to not only improve quality of care for individual patients, but also for global health populations.

Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare

Why is interprofessional collaboration essential? Because when you create a collaborative culture (and put communication strategies and technology in place to support that culture), you:

1. Improve patient care and outcomes

A patient walks into the emergency department (ED) complaining of chest pains. An ED doctor checks him out, followed by a cardiologist, who orders some tests and waits on the results from the radiologist, who confirms what both doctors suspected: the patient is having a heart attack.

After having emergency surgery, the patient spends a day in the ICU, where a team of nurses care for him in 12-hour shifts, before transferring him to a cardiac unit, where he meets his new team of rotating nurses. Each morning throughout his stay, a hospitalist (or perhaps his primary care doctor) stops by during rounds. So does the cardiologist, and since the patient has diabetes and COPD, an endocrinologist and pulmonologist. Depending on the patient’s recovery and lifestyle, physical therapists, dieticians, and social workers might even get involved.

Each of these people has a unique perspective and valuable insights about the patient. They notice different symptoms and consider different possibilities. Together, they have a more comprehensive, holistic view of the patient. But these people are rarely, if ever, in the same room. At best, they share data via EHR, but they often lack a way to communicate directly in real-time.

Along with care team meetings, many hospitals now encourage team-based, patient-centered rounds that include the primary doctor, bedside nurse, specialized physicians, and any other relevant team members. This helps to foster both patient-centered care and interprofessional collaboration in healthcare.

(Video) WHY Interprofessional Collaborative Practice?

It also helps to have hospital communication technology that lets care teams communicate and collaborate seamlessly and securely on the go or at the point of care — via text, voice, or video.

2. Reduce medical errors.

In healthcare, communication gaps can have costly consequences — from missed symptoms to misdiagnoses to medication errors. In fact, medical errors cause 250,000 deaths each year. According to Johns Hopkins, it’s the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

It’s easy to see how accidents can happen, with multiple doctors prescribing multiple medications, and numerous nurses delivering those medications. EHR notes can help, but clinical communication is vital. That means having a group conversation, looping in a pharmacist for some interprofessional collaboration, and ensuring nurses have all the information they need to treat patients safely.

Studies have shown that interprofessional collaboration in healthcare can help to reduce preventable adverse drug reactions, decrease mortality rates, and optimize medication dosages.

3. Start treatment faster.

Much of healthcare is a waiting game. Patients wait for physicians, while physicians wait for other physicians to provide consultations, or for radiology to send back lab results.

Communication delays frustrate patients and waste valuable time, giving conditions time to worsen. That’s why the Joint Commission continually lists “improve staff communication” and “get important test results to the right staff person on time” as a National Patient Safety Goal.

Again, interprofessional collaboration bridges the gaps. So does clinical communication technology. It keeps care team members connected (so they can reach out to that physician who hasn’t entered notes into the EHR) and automates alerts (so they receive text messages when critical lab results come in). Overall a care team collaboration platform delivers the right information to the right people at the right time via secure messaging, voice, or video.

4. Reduce inefficiencies and healthcare costs.

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare helps to prevent medication errors, improve the patient experience (and thus HCAHPS), and deliver better patient outcomes — all of which can reduce healthcare costs. It also helps hospitals save money by shoring up workflow redundancies and operational inefficiencies.

By improving the interprofessional collaboration model between its nurses and physicians, one hospital cut its fall rate in half, decreased average length-of-stay by 0.6 days, increased annualized bed turn by 20 percent, and increased discharges before noon by 20 percent — according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study of 20 hospitals. At another hospital in the study, interprofessional collaboration significantly improved surgical start times and prevented delays that led to 700 wasted hours over the previous four years.

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5. Improve staff relationships and job satisfaction.

Every health profession has its own subculture, knowledge base, and philosophy. When you add power structures, some members’ voices get prioritized over others. That’s not good for the patient or for staff morale.

Interprofessional collaboration levels the playing field and acknowledges that everyone plays a vital role on the care team. That sense of community and camaraderie can also boost staff retention and recruitment.

Empower Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare with Mobile Solutions

Workers in most industries are more connected than ever. Whether they need a face-to-face conversation with a colleague across the country via video conferencing, or want to text an update to a customer, all they need is a smartphone.

Many healthcare professionals have this experience everywhere except work. Because their employers haven’t invested in a HIPAA-compliant communication platform, they’re still relying on outdated technology like pagers, landlines, or fax machines.

When hospital communications technology is hard to use, your staff will use it as infrequently as possible or waste valuable time trying to get in touch with a member of the care team. If you want your team to master interprofessional collaboration in healthcare, give them the tools to do it.

(Video) Collaboration in Health Care: The Journey of an Accidental Expert? | Joy Doll | TEDxCreightonU

Will O'Connor M.D., CMIO at TigerConnect

Will O’Connor, M.D. is the Chief Medical Information Officer at TigerConnect. As a physician executive with more than 20 years of healthcare experience, Will is a passionate advocate for rapid advancement across the healthcare industry.

Tags: Quality of Care, Interprofessional Collaboration, Patient Experience, Patient Engagement


What are the benefits of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? ›

Interprofessional collaboration in healthcare helps to prevent medication errors, improve the patient experience (and thus HCAHPS), and deliver better patient outcomes — all of which can reduce healthcare costs. It also helps hospitals save money by shoring up workflow redundancies and operational inefficiencies.

What are examples of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? ›

Collaborating as a team and communicating clear goals and findings with each other can help provide higher-quality care for patients. For example, if someone checks into the emergency room with shortness of breath, they may see multiple medical professionals who assess and diagnose the issue.

What are the benefits of collaborative practice? ›

The benefits of collaborative practice are many and include provider and family satisfaction, fewer complaints, more efficient use of time, decreased length of hospital stay, improved working relationships, continuity of care, and decreased cost [19].

What are the benefits of interprofessional education in healthcare? ›

However, the effort that students exert in interprofessional education yields many important benefits: Care teams become more effective; treatment programs better fit patient needs; and ultimately, patients receive better care.

What is the importance of interprofessional communication in healthcare? ›

Background. Effective interprofessional communication (IPC) between healthcare professionals promotes teamwork, improves patient care and boosts cost efficiency [1, 2]. IPC also encourages open, honest and frank discussions, facilitates negotiations and resolution of conflicts, and promotes shared decision making [3].

What is the direct benefit of interprofessional collaboration among the healthcare team quizlet? ›

Effective communication between individual team members and with the patient will be a priority. This interprofessional team benefitted the patient by communicating with each other and the patient to avoid potential medical errors and to ensure effective care.

What is the purpose of interprofessional collaboration? ›

Interprofessional collaboration occurs when 2 or more professions work together to achieve common goals and is often used as a means for solving a variety of problems and complex issues.

What are the 4 core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice? ›

The IPEC panel identified four core competency domains: 1) values and ethics; 2) roles and responsibilities for collaborative practice; 3) interprofessional communication; and 4) teamwork and team-based care.

How does interprofessional collaboration improve patient safety? ›

Patient safety experts agree that communication and teamwork skills are essential for providing quality health care. When all clinical and nonclinical staff collaborate effectively, health care teams can improve patient outcomes, prevent medical errors, improve efficiency and increase patient satisfaction.

What are the 5 benefits of collaborative learning? ›

Below are just five of the many benefits of collaborative learning for students.
  • Leadership and Self-Management Skills.
  • Wider Range of Knowledge and Skill Acquisition.
  • Improved Student Relationships.
  • Better Concept Retention.
  • Promotes Active Listening and Critical Thinking.
  • Establish group goals and values.
Dec 3, 2020

What are the benefits of professional development for health care providers? ›

In healthcare, learning is ongoing. The benefits of continuing education include better patient outcomes, increased professional morale, more motivated and better skilled staff, and improved hospital reputations. Empowering staff members through education allows them to serve in their roles in the best way possible.

What are the benefits of interprofessional collaboration in education? ›

Interprofessional Collaboration and Education
  • Greater focus on patient/family-centred care.
  • Improved patient safety and quality.
  • Improved patient and staff satisfaction.
  • Ability to provide a better range of health services.
  • Reduced staff burnout.
  • Better use of resources.

What are the advantages of interprofessional learning? ›

Students from different health disciplines often have little idea of what each other’s roles entail. Interprofessional learning increase this knowledge, as well as giving students an understanding of the interpersonal skills needed for liaison and communication.

What are 5 positive outcomes that result from effective communication in healthcare? ›

Benefits of Effective Communication

Improved patient satisfaction, including perception of a clinician's competency. Improved patient compliance and adherence. Improved ability of clinicians to obtain medical histories, leading to the formulation of more accurate assessments and treatment plans.

What is the goal of interprofessional healthcare? ›

The goal of an interprofessional team is to provide patient-centered care in a collaborative manner. The team establishes a common goal and using their individual expertise, works in concert to achieve that patient-centered goal.

What is the importance of collaboration? ›

Why is collaboration important? Collaboration improves the way your team works together and problem solves. This leads to more innovation, efficient processes, increased success, and improved communication. Through listening to and learning from team members, you can help each other reach your goals.

Which elements of interprofessional collaboration are most important? ›

7 Essential Elements of Collaboration
  • Cooperation.
  • Assertiveness.
  • Autonomy.
  • Responsibility/Accountability.
  • Communication.
  • Coordination.
  • Mutual Trust and Respect.

Why is teamwork important in interprofessional collaboration? ›

Interprofessional teamwork provides a basis for establishing an integrated approach to healthcare that promotes and maintains the health of patients, while improving the effectiveness of healthcare delivery.

What are the benefits of an interdisciplinary team approach to health care? ›

An interdisciplinary approach can improve patient outcomes, healthcare processes and levels of satisfaction. It can also reduce length of stay 6,7 and avoid duplication of assessments, leading to more comprehensive and holistic records of care.

What are the 6 interprofessional competencies? ›

National Interprofessional Competency Framework

Six competencies embedded in the framework include patient/client/family/community-centred care, interprofessional communication, role clarification, team functioning, collaborative leadership and interprofessional conflict resolution (CIHC, 2010).

What are the four key components of IPE? ›

Administrative and financial support, IP program infrastructure, experienced faculty, and the promotion of a collaborative culture among the different healthcare professions are the key elements to ensure the success of IPE programs.

What are the keys to interprofessional collaboration? ›

These elements include responsibility, accountability, coordination, communication, cooperation, assertiveness, autonomy, and mutual trust and respect (6).

How can healthcare improve collaboration skills? ›

Five Tips for Improving Nurse Collaboration
  1. Understand yourself: strengths, weaknesses and biases.
  2. Value diversity.
  3. Work on communication skills.
  4. Build interdepartmental relationships.
  5. Collaborate with the patient.

What are the benefits of collaboration in nursing? ›

Collaboration among nurses and staff ensures more efficient, effective patient care and a more supportive environment where team members can develop in their practice.

What are the 5 components of collaboration? ›

  • Five Elements of Collaborative Learning.
  • Positive interdependence.
  • Face-to-face promotive interaction.
  • Individual accountability.
  • Interpersonal and small group skills.
  • Group processing.

What are the five principles of collaboration? ›

The Twelve Principles of Collaboration
  • Relationship Management. ...
  • Alignment on Vision and Values. ...
  • Alignment of Business Objectives. ...
  • Collaborative leadership. ...
  • Governance and processes. ...
  • Collaborative competence and behavior. ...
  • Trust and Commitment to mutual benefit. ...
  • Value Creation.
Jan 19, 2021

What are the benefits of partnership and collaboration? ›

Partnership and collaboration can alleviate operations or even programmatic expenses because it balances out the costs between both organizations. This might include training, shared workspace, workshops, transportation, or anything else related to the mission.

What are the three 3 important aspects of collaboration? ›

Ok, so what are 3 important skills for teamwork and collaboration?
  • Workplace communication. Intuitively, it makes sense that strong team communication skills support a culture of collaboration at work. ...
  • Respect for diversity in the workplace. ...
  • Build trust with employees.
Aug 25, 2022

What are the benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning? ›

When participants engage in collaborative and cooperative learning activities, they “construct” new ideas based on both their own experiences and understandings and those of their team members. The two learning strategies result in deeper understanding of the content, increased engagement, and heightened motivation.

What are the benefits of peer learning? ›

Why Is Peer Learning Important?
  • Teamwork: Peer learning fosters teamwork, cooperation, patience, and better social skills. ...
  • Better Feedback: Often, students are not able to recognize the gaps in their own knowledge. ...
  • Supports Diversity: Peer learning fosters diversity and depth in a student's knowledge and opinions.
Sep 1, 2022

What are the 7 keys of collaboration? ›

Seven Keys to Creative Collaboration
  • It's voluntary. Forced collaboration isn't collaboration. ...
  • People are dependable. ...
  • There's trust and vulnerability. ...
  • The structure is loose . . . but there is a structure. ...
  • We share a vision. ...
  • The ability to goof around. ...
  • We embrace candor and conflict.
Jun 20, 2016

What are 3 characteristics of collaborative partnerships? ›

There are three types of collaboration:
  • creative – where two or more people create something to achieve a specific goal,
  • connective – bringing together information from disparate sources, and.
  • compounding – where a team builds on previous achievements to reach further.
May 14, 2018

What is the overall goal of interprofessional collaborative practice? ›

The goals of interprofessional collaborative practice are achieved when teams achieve a level of high reliability and produce consistent outcomes. High reliability teams (HRT) improve population health, enhance care experiences, address health equity, promote workforce well-being, and reduce costs.

Why is teamwork and collaboration important in healthcare? ›

Patient safety experts agree that communication and teamwork skills are essential for providing quality health care. When all clinical and nonclinical staff collaborate effectively, health care teams can improve patient outcomes, prevent medical errors, improve efficiency and increase patient satisfaction.

What are the 4 core competencies of interprofessional collaboration? ›

The IPEC panel identified four core competency domains: 1) values and ethics; 2) roles and responsibilities for collaborative practice; 3) interprofessional communication; and 4) teamwork and team-based care.

What do you learn in interprofessional collaboration? ›

The placement allows students to put their teamwork skills into practice, learn about each other's roles and responsibilities and develop communication skills to make a cohesive team.

What are two benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration? ›

Explore six of these benefits and learn how interprofessional collaboration leads to better patient outcomes.
  • It Empowers Team Members. ...
  • It Closes Communication Gaps. ...
  • It Enables Comprehensive Patient Care. ...
  • It Minimizes Readmission Rates. ...
  • It Promotes a Team Mentality. ...
  • It Promotes Patient-Centered Care.
May 22, 2017

What is meant by interprofessional collaboration in healthcare? ›

What is interprofessional collaboration? According to WHO: "Collaborative practice happens when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers and communities to deliver the highest quality of care across settings[1]."


1. The Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration
(Abbey Shelton)
2. Interprofessional Collaboration in healthcare
(Rhoda Palacio)
3. Collaboration Across Professions Improves Patient Outcomes
(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)
4. Benefits of Interprofessional Collaboration in Home Health Care | Immaculate Homecare Services
(Immaculate Homecare Services)
5. Teamwork & collaboration in Health Care
(BCIT School of Health Sciences)
6. Inter-professional Education and Collaboration in Health Care
(NUS Nursing)
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