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Why IPE?

Why IPE? Why now?

Teamwork and collaborative practice have been part of health care for nearly 50 years. In the early 2000s, the Institute of Medicine, now the National Academy of Medicine, released three critical reports that:

  • focused on patient safety and medical errors that can be avoided through improved communication and collaboration among health professionals; and
  • called for broad change in health professions education.

These reports are particularly salient because medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States (Makary & Daniel, 2016), and health care as a percentage of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to rise from 17.5 in 2014 to 20.1 by 2025 (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2016).

In 2008, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement proposed a strategic framework known as the Triple Aim that describes an approach to optimizing health system performance (Berwick, Nolan, & Whittington, 2008).  The Triple aim concepts became an important part of the national strategy for health care redesign, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), which passed in 2010.  The framework has since been updated to include additional aims (Bodenheimer & Sinsky, 2014; Nundy, Cooper & Mate, 2022) and now focuses on all of the following dimensions:

  • improving the patient experience of care;
  • improving the health of populations; 
  • reducing the per capita cost of health care;
  • staff well-being and safety; and
  • advancing health equity.

Other efforts to accelerate health professions education include the 2011 release of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative's (IPEC) nationally recognized four core competencies that have gained substantial traction with accreditors.  These competencies were updated in 2016 and again in 2023 to address population health, better achieve the Quintuple Aim, and ensure they accurately reflect changes in research, policy, and practice.  The four core competencies are: Values & Ethics, Roles & Responsibilities, Communication, and Teams & Teamwork (IPEC, 2023).


  1. Berwick, D. M., Nolan, T. W., & Whittington, J. (2008). The triple aim: Care, health, and cost. Health Affairs, 27(3), 759-769.
  2. Bodenheimer, T., & Sinsky, C. (2014). From triple to quadruple aim: Care of the patient requires care of the provider. The Annals of Family Medicine, 12(6), 573-576.
  3. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2016, August 10). National Health Expenditure Fact Sheet.
  4. Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2023). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2023 Update. Washington, DC: Interprofessional Education Collaborative.
  5. Makary, M. A., & Daniel, M. (2016). Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US. The BMJ, 353, i2139.
  6. Nundy, S., Cooper, L. A., & Mate, K. S. (2022). The quintuple aim for health care improvement: A new imperative to advance health equity. Jama, 327(6), 521-522.
  7. World Health Organization. (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.