A Review from Medical Science Educator from Dr. Alice Fornari

I have selected to review this Medical Science Educator recent publication: A Delphi Study to Determine Leveling of the Interprofessional Competencies for Four Levels of Interprofessional Practice published in the December 2018 issue. From my own experience, the Delphi Method is a qualitative research technique that is very valuable to medical education and therefore it is worthwhile to review an article that used the method to gain a better understanding of all the steps required to achieve consensus from all participants. The other interesting aspect of this article is the application to interprofessional core competencies and practice, which is a very important part of medical education and clinical care. I anticipate all medical educators (UGME, GME and CPD) will be interested in the results and the application to interprofessional teaching, learning and practice.

 The article uses the IOM Interprofessional Education Collaborative core competencies as the framework for the research. These are internationally recognized competencies that guide interprofessional education and practice in an effort to build on their value for trainees entering clinical practice.

 This article addresses the importance of leveling interprofessional learners based on their experiences who work together on interprofessional teams. This helps faculty who plan and teach learning sessions to plan activities for learners who are at equivalent levels. The use of the IPEC competencies across different levels of learners needs to be assessed and if all 38 are appropriate for all learners working together on teams.

 The authors chose the Delphi technique as a consensus building method using an expert panel to achieve consensus. They divide learners into 4 different levels and align with different health professionals who are part of a team. The 38 competencies were judged against the 4 levels of learners. The goal was set as a minimum of 70 percent agreement of the experts on the 3 rounds used in the Delphi Technique. The goal to develop a working document to guide developmentally appropriate curriculum for IPE learners preparing for practice. 34/38 competencies achieved consensus for the 4 levels of learners. This research is a guideline to be used to implement the IOM core competencies, specifically the competency of working into professional teams.  

What is interesting is questions raised from the research: 
1.    Are all the 38 competencies critical to all learners? 
2.    Are the competencies well defined?
3.    Do all competencies need to be addressed at all 4 levels of learners?

 Most important this study contributes to the body of knowledge of interprofessional teaching and learning. The goal to establish guidelines for progressive organization and consistency in interprofessional learning activities using the IPE Competencies and ultimately strengthen teaching, learning and practice among health professionals.