Early Experiential Interprofessional Offerings - Innovation in Scaling & Sustainability
The Longitudinal Interprofessional Family Based Experience (LIFE) is an experiential educational offering focused on teamwork of interprofessional student teams with patients who have chronic illnesses. Due to the initial success, expansion to reach more students, patient advisors, faculty, and collaborating units through academic/practice partnerships was needed. This presentation aims to highlight the scaling frameworks and sustainability strategies.
The LIFE team, faculty/students/staff representing 11 academic units and the health system’s Office of Patient Experience (OPE), provided creation/implementation/sustainability of the offering. The scaling plan included: increasing the number of patient advisors, strengthening relationships between academic units and OPE, piloting embedding, expanding mix of graduate/undergraduate/diversity of students from multiple campuses, centralizing administrative support, and intentional evaluation on scaling impact.
The number of learners increased (n=48 in 2021,n = 55 in 2022,n = 237 in 2023). Engagement of patient advisors increased from 2021 (n=8) to 2023 (n=28). In 2021, 6 faculty were involved which increased to 26 in 2023. Collaborating academic units increased from 8(2021) to 12(2023). Initial themes emerged regarding experiential impact of scaling, including increased student questions, need for more frequent monitoring/response to students, and increased staff hours to meet these needs. Embedding LIFE in an existing course for only some learners resulted in different student perceptions regarding course grades/performance. Increasing the mix of undergraduate/graduate-level students created both opportunities for real-life diverse teams in which clinical, academic, and IPE experience levels will vary.
Scaling patient-focused experiential IPE is dependent on a strong partnership with the OPE as student engagement with patient advisors is key to this experience. Embedding offerings provides more learners the opportunity to participate and may reduce faculty workload while fostering a collaborative culture. Scaling strategies to maintain/support existing faculty and continually recruit/train/support new faculty is essential. Strong administrative/marketing support from IPE leadership is essential. Ongoing evaluation from stakeholders is imperative to assess the needs/effectiveness of strategies with diverse academic/community of partners. Exploration of diverse scalability variations including from one large program to replications of smaller programs in multiple community locations.
Early experiential interprofessional offerings offered in partnership with academic and community partners are foundational in preparing learners for a team based workforce. Future research should explore needed structural organizational resources/design/implementation strategies to effectively scale and sustain interprofessional education partnerships.