Best Practices for Designing Continuing Interprofessional Education

Sue Rose, MPH

Medical Education


Population health changes have resulted in new public health challenges for our clinicians. Delivery systems attempting to meet the needs of acute and chronic care have become larger and more complex. There is a greater reliance on technology and a severe shortage of health workforce resources to address primary care demands.1 The need for effective interprofessional collaboration and teamwork to achieve better health outcomes is evident.

Interprofessional education (IPE) for collaborative patient-centered practice is considered an important way to ensure that health care providers have the necessary understanding, knowledge, training and tools to enable them to implement strategies designed to promote the active participation of each profession in patient care.2 Additionally, IPE is a collaborative approach to develop healthcare students as future interprofessional team members and a recommendation suggested by National Academy of Medicine. Training future healthcare providers to work in such teams will help facilitate this model resulting in improved healthcare outcomes for patients.3

Continuing Interprofessional Development (CiPD) has become an increasingly important component of healthcare education; these activities have been designed to improve our clinician faculty effectiveness at all levels of the educational continuum.2 To teach CiPD activities in a more effective and satisfactory manner and promote organizational change and development, there are unique aspects to planning to which must be adhered.

Best Practices to Designing CiPD:

  • A Shared Vision: Support IPE by incorporating a shared vision of multiple professions or divisions.
    1. Is your target audience interprofessional?
    2. What are the interprofessional competencies that should be addressed to meet this vision?
  • Analyze the practice gaps: This gap analysis should be conducted by clinicians who are representative of the interprofessional target audience.
    1. Identify gaps in teamwork and team-based care that affect outcomes of care. This provides the foundation for CiPD to address the identified gaps. 4
  • Identify the barriers: Interprofessional barriers to practice change may include limited awareness of each other’s knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to team-based practice or poor communication between health care professionals.4
    1. Identified barriers, along with strategies for overcoming those barriers, should be utilized in developing you CiPD educational content.4
  • Articulate the educational goals and objectives: The goals and objectives for CiPD focus more on preparing health professionals to actually work together in teams in order to improve patient outcomes and safety.
    1. Interprofessional competency development should be integrated into the learning objectives.
  • Design and implement the educational activities: The design and implementation of the CiPD learning activity is based on the learning goals and objectives and incorporate interprofessional competencies into the teaching.
    1. What learning theories will best achieve these learning goals and outcomes?
  • Evaluate the educational activities: Changes in individual and team-based practice performance are measured using interprofessional competencies.
    1. Determine the value of the learning process, measure that learning occurred, and assess the changes in competence, performance and/or patient outcomes that have been achieved.4


  1. Cuff P, Schmitt M, Zierler B, et al. Interprofessional education for collaborative practice: views from a global forum workshop. In: Taylor & Francis; 2014.
  2. Steinert Y. Learning together to teach together: Interprofessional education and faculty development. Journal of interprofessional care. 2005;19(sup1):60-75.
  3. Bridges D, Davidson R, Odegard P, Maki I, Tomkowiak J. Interprofessional collaboration: three best practice models of interprofessional education. Medical education online. 2011;16.
  4. Owen JA, Schmitt MH. Integrating Interprofessional Education into Continuing Education: A Planning Process for Continuing Interprofessional Education Programs. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. 2013;33(2):109-117.
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