Patient Evaluations of Interprofessional Student Healthcare Teams: Opportunity to Rate Teams is Variable While Participation is Positive
Objective: Patients’ evaluation of interprofessional healthcare teams is critical to understanding team-based care. As part of an educational experience, patients/families were interviewed by interprofessional teams of healthcare students. The objective of this study was to describe patient’s/family’s opportunity to evaluate the interprofessional teams and their perceptions of interacting with the teams.
Methods: Longitudinal Interprofessional Family-Based Experience (LIFE) is a semester-long experiential offering for early learners at a large midwestern university, during which interprofessional student teams interact with patients. Volunteer patients/families with a chronic disease were recruited by the university hospital’s Office of Patient Experience to participate. These volunteers previously completed a training that included standard hospital volunteer protocols (e.g., safety, privacy, code of conduct) and guidance for sharing their patient and/or family story and feedback in the health system setting. Students were grouped into interprofessional teams of 6-7 persons and engaged in two interviews with a patient/family. Online surveys were administered to patient/family participants after each interview to assess team functioning, and frequency distributions are reported.
Results: Twenty-eight patients/families participated in LIFE, 15 responded after interview one and 23 responded after interview two. After interview one, eight (53.3%) respondents indicated they “welcomed opportunity to evaluate students team functioning…and had enough interaction with the team.” Four (26.7%) respondents did not feel they had enough interaction with the team, and three did not respond. After interview two, nine (39.1%) respondents indicated they welcomed the opportunity to evaluate the teams, five (21.7%) respondents did not feel they had enough interaction with the team, three (13%) preferred not to evaluate the team, and six did not respond. Sixteen (69.6%) reported “this was a positive experience for me and my family”. Seventeen (73.9%) strongly agreed that it was “rewarding to have an opportunity to share my healthcare experience with multiple health professional students.”
Conclusion: Forty to 50% of respondents welcomed the opportunity to evaluate interprofessional student team functioning, but an additional 21-26% needed more interaction with the team. Eighteen to 47% did not respond. As well, these findings reinforce collaboration between IPE and health system authentic experiences.
Reflection: Enhanced training for patients/families should be provided so more participants feel prepared to evaluate teams. A participatory approach for incorporating patient feedback is necessary to scale up this type of experiential course, as faculty are unable to attend every interview. Future research should determine the impact of patient engagement in the student learning processes about team-based care.