On June 9, 2017, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) participated in the third annual Joint Accreditation Leadership Summit. During this Summit, interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) professionals discussed various challenges and opportunities related to IPCE.
The Summit was conducted in three parts and included discussion about publishing research and disseminating success stories about IPCE; case examples of research in action; and “hot topics” in IPCE, with attendees participating in breakout sessions to share and learn from each other’s experiences in managing IPCE programs.
A key recommendation of the previous year’s Joint Accreditation Leadership Summit was to build a body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of IPCE in improving team performance and patient care. This year, the Summit focused on strategies for conducting and disseminating such research.
“We need to develop better models for sharing what works,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME. “We do that by looking at ourselves, looking at our programs, counting our wins, understanding the challenges we have, measuring that change, and sharing it with each other. That is research, and that is how we learn from each other.”
In the first session, participants explored how to design IPCE activities in a way that also produces data that can be published or otherwise shared with colleagues. Scott Reeves, PhD, MSc, PGCE, BSc, Professor in Interprofessional Research at Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Interprofessional Care, led the session. He offered insight to IPCE professionals about how to broaden their objectives to reach beyond their own institution and learners, including research and dissemination of outcomes that offer insight to the wider IPCE community. The purpose of gathering and publishing data, Reeves said, is two-fold: to understand the impact of activities on participants, and to disseminate those findings for the benefit of others.
The evaluation of IPCE activities is strengthened by the use of a theoretical perspective and evaluation model. Choosing a theoretical and/or evaluation framework can help to focus the work, as well as create more generalizable knowledge that contributes to scholarly work about IPCE. An evaluation model helps to capture a wider range of data and produce more comprehensive studies.
At the end of the day, Summit participants separated into four topic-based breakout sessions, led by their peers and Joint Accreditation staff. During this session, attendees had the opportunity to discuss a topic in-depth, to learn from each other’s experiences, and report back to the larger group. Topics included identifying educational gaps and needs for interprofessional teams; innovative strategies to evaluate change in interprofessional teams; identifying ways to recognize exemplary practices through accreditation with commendation; and further discussion on planning, conducting, and publishing IPCE research.
The Summit was designed to build a community of practice to sustain, stimulate, and nurture IPCE professionals. Through sharing stories and best practices, the growing community of practice advances the field, paves the way for future IPCE professionals, and generates collaboration with colleagues in undergraduate and graduate interprofessional education. With the support of their community, IPCE professionals will improve the care delivered to patients and communities across the country.
The report concluded with three key lessons for conducting research: creating a plan, developing partnerships, and sharing your results.