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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) focused on the following dimensions:

  • improving the patient experience of care;
  • improving the health of populations; and
  • reducing the per capita cost of health care.

This concept 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.

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 traction with accreditors: values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, interprofessional communication, and teams and teamwork (Interprofessional Education Collaborative, 2016). IPEC updated the competencies in 2016 to better achieve the Triple AIm, especially as it relates to population health.


  1. Berwick, D. M., Nolan, T. W., & Whittington, J. (2008). The triple aim: Care, health, and cost. Health Affairs, 27(3), 759-769.
  2. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2016, August 10). National Health Expenditure Fact Sheet.
  3. Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 Update. Washington, DC: Interprofessional Education Collaborative.
  4. Makary, M. A., & Daniel, M. (2016). Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US. The BMJ, 353, i2139.
  5. World Health Organization. (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.