Communication sciences disorders clinicians and students need on-the-job and preprofessional opportunities to learn about team-based care, according to recommendations that emerged from ASHA's 2012 Health Care Landscape Summit.
Summit participants—70 health care administrators, clinical directors, clinicians, researchers, academicians, consultants, and consumer group representatives—identified interprofessional education as one of several top priorities as reimbursement and patient care models shift away from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance and value-based service delivery.
Keynote presenter David Willis, managing director of global health care research and consulting firm The Advisory Board Company, noted that several factors-payers' desire to pay less for better quality care, health care costs rising by about 4 percent annually, growing Medicare rolls, and more patients with chronic, costly conditions—point to an inevitable conclusion: All roads lead to team-based health care, a cultural change that requires providers to step up and take larger roles in the provision of care.
In the wake of the summit, an ad hoc committee of the ASHA Board of Directors identified interprofessional education as a top priority. A new committee will identify specific strategies and actions that will help prepare members to be actively engaged in collaborative education and practice. Committee membership will include representatives of other health professions: a physician, nurse and physical therapist.
As discussed at the health care summit and Board meetings, some of the key elements of interprofessional education include:
- Specific courses in graduate schools.
- Opportunities for collaborative clinical education and practicum experiences.
- Collaborative practice in health care settings to maximize patients' functional outcomes.
At its January meeting, the Board discussion two questions about interprofessional education.
- What aspects of culture and systems facilitate and challenge interprofessional education in communication sciences and disorders and other disciplines in higher education and practice settings? Suggested challenges included the culture of employment settings and fee-for-service reimbursement; facilitating factors included new reimbursement models that mandate team-based care and specific interprofessional education courses in higher education.
- Why are interprofessional education and practice important to speech-language pathology and audiology? Responses included enhanced financial efficiency, increased quality of care, increased value, increased understanding that communication sciences and disorders are part of a bigger rehabilitation system, and improved communication among care providers.
In 2012, ASHA joined the newly formed Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education of the Institute of Medicine. The forum hosted two workshops in 2012, "Educating for Practice: Improving Health by Linking Education to Practice Using IPE" and "Educating for Practice: Learning How to Improve Health From Interprofessional Models Across the Continuum of Education to Practice." In 2013, workshops will examine "Establishing Transdisciplinary Professionalism for Health Care" and "Assessing Health Professional Education."
ASHA's efforts to implement interprofessional education across the discipline continue to evolve and will include the following:
- Member education on the need for interprofessional education.
- Discussions with professions outside speech-language pathology and audiology on interdisciplinary venues to discuss and promote interprofessional education.
- A forum for faculty to consider various interprofessional models for infusion at the university level.
- Continuing education programs on interprofessional education and health care changes.
- Promoting interprofessional education in educational and health care settings.
A staff team is working to implement the recommendations from the summit and the ad hoc committee. Visit the ASHA website for additional information, resources and links to information on interprofessional education and practice.