The objective of this systematic review is to examine the perspectives, attitudes, views and experiences of pharmacy students, pharmacy academics and practicing pharmacists towards interprofessional education and collaborative practice through quantitative and qualitative evidence.Background
Interprofessional education (IPE) has been defined by the Centre for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education (CAIPE) as “two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care”.1(para1) Globally, interprofessional education has gained momentum in the last twenty years. However, this has been more pronounced in developed countries such as Canada, United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. In an IPE environment, students are provided with a structured opportunity that enables them to interact with other healthcare professionals where they acquire the knowledge, skills and professional attitudes as part of their undergraduate learning experience.2 Once they graduate, they are able to translate this into practice. The practice environment is often complex and intense, and requires a high level of interpersonal skills for the health care professional to be able to work in an adaptable, flexible and collaborative environment and to appreciate the roles of the different health care professionals.2 Health professionals learning together and understanding each other better is the way forward and has been proven by international research evidence.3,4,5,6Background
As healthcare systems advance, the demand for collaborative work between healthcare professionals from different backgrounds increases; therefore, healthcare professionals need to develop the knowledge and skills required to work together effectively in order to positively impact on patient care. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a ground-breaking document titled, “Framework for Action on Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice” in 2010.6. In this framework, WHO strongly advocated the development and integration of IPE into healthcare curricula. They emphasized the importance of adapting team based collaborative models in all the different areas of healthcare to enhance the delivery of healthcare services. Collaborative practice occurs “when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, carers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care”.6(p13) Therefore, collaboration involves solving challenging problems together, interacting, negotiating and jointly working with health workers from any background. This is where two or more healthcare professionals work cohesively to address patient needs. Benefits of collaborative practice include strengthening health care systems and improving patient care in terms of quality and safety provided, reducing the cost of care, shortening patients' duration of hospital stay, and improving health outcomes.6,7Background
In terms of pharmacy and the expanding and evolving role of the pharmacist seen in the early nineties with the emergence of the concept of pharmaceutical care concept by Hepler and Strand,8 it is important that this role is recognized and understood by other healthcare providers and healthcare students so that there is effective collaboration and team work. With this in mind, pharmacists also need to recognize and understand other professionals' roles. Pharmacists need to be able to assume new innovative roles centered on patient care rather than being product centered. These roles include medication reviews, chronic disease management, immunization services, well-being programs, prescribing and becoming an integral part healthcare decision making team based on evidence based practice.Background
A number of systematic reviews on IPE exist with the first one dating back to 1999. These found no rigorous quantitative evidence on the effects of IPE.9Table 1 summarizes the main systematic reviews to date focusing on IPE.Background
In the above best evidence systematic review of IPE published in 2007, most of the studies evaluated IPE that was delivered to healthcare students during their undergraduate studies. The majority of participants were from medicine, nursing and physiotherapy, with pharmacy students being less prevalent.3 This finding was echoed in another review which found that medical students were included in all the studies with high representation by nursing students, and less by students from other health care fields, including pharmacy.4 The pharmacy profession was represented in the primary literature reviewed but its perspective and inclusion was not explicit. Hence there is a need to conduct a systematic review to investigate literature that specifically explores the pharmacy perspective on IPE. It would be useful to investigate the interprofessional learning within pharmacy courses, as providing this information can potentially lead to the development of new and innovative teaching strategies which will potentially benefit health professionals. It is interesting to note that after searching the Cochrane Collaboration's database, JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports and general literature, the authors believe that no systematic review with a uni-professional healthcare perspective has been undertaken previously; therefore, this review will be unique in that it will be the first to investigate a single healthcare profession's perspective about IPE and collaborative practice.Background
This is the first systematic review investigating pharmacy perspectives of IPE worldwide. It is anticipated that this review will consolidate and synthesize existing findings regarding pharmacy perspectives on IPE and provide a better understanding of what shapes this perspective. It will also provide us with the platform needed to develop and implement IPE activities that are meaningful, comprehensive and unique. The outcomes of this research will provide a set of recommendations to be used by pharmacy and other healthcare educators to plan and implement innovative IPE activities that are relevant and meaningful to students.