Interprofessional Education for Primary Care Teams: Policy Considerations for California

Interprofessional Education for Primary Care Teams: Policy Considerations for California

Published: May 15, 2024
Publisher: Mathematica

Tess Johnson

Amelia Kelly

Samantha Chavez

Key Findings

The report provides the following policy considerations for California:

  • Fund demonstration projects to foster innovation in interprofessional education and collaborative practice and expand clinic-based interprofessional education opportunities for learners and care teams.
  • Grant money to innovative institutions to package and share curricula and training materials to increase access to evidence-based interprofessional education for academic and training institutions.
  • Offer individual scholarships to support faculty development for interprofessional education and to mitigate barriers related to a lack of faculty with time and training to teach and oversee interprofessional education.
  • Fund learning collaboratives focused on interprofessional education and collaborative practice to help share best practices and lessons learned and to cultivate peer learning and innovation among academic and training institutions and primary care sites.
  • Support initiatives to train practice coaches using evidence-based approaches to increase primary care sites’ access to trained professional practice coaches who can help optimize team-based care.
  • Develop resources to help make the business case for interprofessional education and interprofessional collaborative practice.
  • Modify Graduate Medical Education funding mechanisms to incentivize efforts to train a broader range of interprofessional primary care team members together at the same training sites.
  • Advocate for policy changes that support primary care teams, such as increasing the amount of money invested in primary care and shifting from fee-for-service reimbursement to payment models aligned with interprofessional team-based care delivery (for example, prospective capitated payments). 

Care delivered by interprofessional primary care teams—groups of health professionals and allied health workers that collaborate and share responsibilities for the care of a patient—has been shown to improve patient outcomes and to decrease burnout among primary care clinicians and staff compared to traditional models of care that place most responsibilities on the physician. To prepare learners in the health professions for interprofessional team-based care, academic and training institutions are increasingly investing in interprofessional education (IPE) at the pre-licensure and resident levels. IPE aims to prepare learners in the health professions for interprofessional team-based care by teaching them about the roles and capabilities of other health professionals and allowing learners to practice communicating and problem-solving with team members who have different educational backgrounds.

Drawing on a literature review and key informant interviews, this report aims to inform strategies to support primary care teams by: (1) summarizing current approaches to educating and training primary care teams, and (2) identifying ways that these approaches could be enhanced, spread, or scaled in California.

This work is part of a broader effort by Mathematica, in partnership with the California Health Care Foundation, to support the California Health Workforce Education and Training Council. Learn more about the California Health Care Foundation's initiative, Bridging the Care Gap: Addressing California's Health Care Workforce Needs.

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