Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Using Communication Technology to Enhance Interprofessional Education Simulations

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Using Communication Technology to Enhance Interprofessional Education Simulations

Article excerpt


The value of interprofessional collaborative practice is increasingly recognized, so national competencies have been developed in the United States to facilitate the delivery of interprofessional education (IPE) within the academic curriculum. This report links the future of our health and education systems to the transformative promise of a "collaborative practice-ready health workforce." (1) The World Health Organization defines IPE as students from two or more professions learning about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. (2) Interprofessional communication is a critical skill for providing quality team-based care to patients, especially because poor interprofessional communication has been linked to medical errors. (3, 4) While face-to-face communication is important, members of an interprofessional team will use various communication technologies (electronic messaging, telephone, video-conferencing) as team-based health care evolves. (1) Observational evidence from hospitals revealed dysfunctional interprofessional communication patterns, with many opportunities for improvement including the use of technology. (5, 6)

Limited data address approaches for teaching and assessing alternative interprofessional communication methods using technology. The authors define alternative interprofessional communication methods as any type of communication that does not involve live, face-to-face interaction and includes the use of a communication technology (eg, telephone, e-mail). Research exploring alternative interprofessional communication methods that use smartphones and electronic messaging focuses on practicing physicians and nurses with mixed results. (7-9) To our knowledge, no literature exists that focuses on alternative methods of communication with practicing or student pharmacists as part of an interprofessional health care team.

These simulations involving alternative methods of communication used the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) core competencies and focused on the domain of interprofessional communication as the curricular design framework. (1) Furthermore, the simulations fulfilled the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) Standards and the Center for the Advancement of Pharmaceutical Education (CAPE) Outcomes by requiring students to participate in an interprofessional education activity using an experiential-based active-learning method. (10, 11) The objective of the study was to determine the impact of the alternative methods of communication simulations on students' attitudes, confidence, and performance related to interprofessional communication and collaboration. The secondary objective was to assess student satisfaction with the new simulations.


The University of Kansas (KU) offers a 4-year doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree to 170 students per class divided between two campuses. The main campus is in Lawrence, Kansas (150 students per class), and the regional campus is in Wichita, Kansas (20 students per class). Both campuses offer the same didactic curriculum via synchronous video conferencing. Laboratory activities are taught separately on each campus following the same content structure, but can vary slightly in methods of delivery. The School of Pharmacy is the only health professions school on the Lawrence campus, with the other professional schools being located on the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) campus in Kansas City, Kansas. The two campuses are approximately 40 miles apart, which creates a barrier to incorporating pharmacy students into face-to-face IPE simulations.

Clinical Assessment is a required, 2-credit hour applications-based course offered to third-year pharmacy students in the spring semester. The course provides a capstone experience to students prior to their participation in advanced pharmacy practice experiences. …

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