Teaming up in Primary Care: Sustainable Models in the Real World

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Emerging research has shown that there are sustainable models for collaborative practice in primary care (Corso, Hunter, Dahl, Kallenberg, & Manson, 2016; Robinson & Reiter, 2014). The adaptation of these innovative practice models into currently functioning primary care p practices requires health care professionals to be flexible in order to “fit” interventions into a service delivery model that is oriented to population health. A significant driver of interprofessional practice implementation will be the dissemination of: 1) these models across the spectrum of health care providers and 2) solid business plans demonstrating sustainability.

The uptake of long-standing, non-student based collaborative practice models in primary care is essential for the future of interprofessional education (IPE; Earnest & Brandt, 2014). First, the establishment of strong team-based primary care practices provides true and practical application of classroom concepts learned during foundational IPE training. Second, a critical extension of IPE in health care professions training programs is seeding local practices with newly minted providers who are prepared to develop these sustainable models. These providers are situated to: 1) demonstrate the value of IPE in the real world, 2) provide high fidelity training sites for future IPE students, and 3) lead the field of interprofessional practice and innovation.

At East Tennessee State University, we have assisted several IPE post-doctoral trainees in developing positions in collaborative primary care around our region. Today, several psychology and pharmacy graduates are working in primary care clinics based in urban and rural areas, academic health center and private-sector health care settings, and within for-profit and federally-qualified health care. These new professionals have increased the demand for interprofessionally trained providers, prepared for an adaptation to primary care. They have initiated training programs and serve as a model for our current IPE students.

In this interactive workshop, we will provide attendees with information on best-practice collaborative models for primary care practice as well as an overview of our business strategy for growing sustainable permanent positions for our graduates with discussion about how to generalize these to new professsions. The session will be structured around two "theory bursts”: one which elaborates integrated practice models and one which describes business models and how to “sell” interprofessional practice. The dissemination of this information will occur in the context of participant engagement. Specifically, we will use small group discussion exercises to facilitate adapting specialty/siloed care to the primary care environment and applying models & plans to participants’ specific situations.


Banff, Canada