EPIC: Empowering Patients through Interprofessional Collaboration
In the summer of 2012, with the vision, inspiration and support of Dr. Peggy Wisdom and the Wisdom Family Foundation, a small group of faculty began a year-long process of developing an interprofessional education program on the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (HSC) campus. During academic year 2013-2014, 18 faculty and 76 students from 7 colleges and 13 disciplines completed the EPIC program. This curriculum required completion of four, 4 hour active learning sessions in the fall of 2013 and four, 4 hour clinic sessions in the spring of 2014. The curriculum for the EPIC project was designed around 4 core topics related to healthcare professional teams – Roles and Responsibilities, Ethics and Values, Communication, and Teamwork. These topics were aligned with the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, as outlined in the May 2011 report of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC).
Our EPIC teams were involved in patient care at the Good Shepherd Charitable Clinic in downtown Oklahoma City during the spring semester of 2014. A total of 16 clinic sessions occurred on Thursday evenings with a total of 29 patients receiving longitudinal care delivered by an interprofessional team of 9-10 students. Approximately 6 patients per team were managed throughout the spring semester. Patients were chosen for the project based on complexity of their healthcare needs. During the initial visit, healthcare teams collaborated with each patient to determine problem lists of medical issues to be addressed at each appointment and developed goals for the patient’s health. At the final clinic session, students reviewed the progress made toward each goal. Significant improvements in health parameters were noted. We are currently evaluating the data to determine the progress made towards health goals. This will be used to further refine the upcoming clinical phase of the EPIC project.
The following statements are examples of student’s responses to the question, “What surprised you most about this clinic session?”
- It is difficult to get people with different backgrounds to work together
- I need to learn when to speak up
- Importance of communication
- Importance of listening
- Everyone in the group has important, valuable knowledge to contribute. Listening is very important to make sure details are heard.
- Process of students communicating with each other. How certain professions always gave debriefing, might be interesting to see other disciplines giving overview of concerns
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Learning the dynamics between disciplines
- How to work with various professions
- I learned that different disciplines overlap but can easily work together
- Learning to let go of stereotypes
- Social work is very, very helpful!