INTERPROFESSIONAL HEALTH EDUCATION TO IMPROVE COLLABORATION IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT: A REALIST REVIEW
Interprofessional education in health has been identified as a strategy to improve collaborative practice in health care. A need to move away from the training of the various professionals in silos has been identified as a mechanism to address the challenges and changes in the healthcare system. The implementation of interprofessional health education in the health disciplines for undergraduate students in order to promote teamwork among professionals and contribute to improved quality health outcomes is, however, complex and challenging to implement.
The purpose of this article is to identify how, by whom and when interprofessional health education for undergraduate students could be implemented in the South African context by means of a realist review. Interprofessional health education was explored in both developed and developing countries with the focus mainly on developing countries and South Africa in particular. The framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice developed by the World Health Organisation (2010) was used as a reference.
The authors clarified concepts about interprofessional health education, taking into consideration studies about interprofessional education internationally as well as nationally. The intention in this paper is to guide the reader to understand the various measures, context and outcomes associated with the term ‘interprofessional health education’. The measures identified for interprofessional health education involved the following: infrastructure, resources, management, stakeholders’ attitudes, teamwork and educational principles. As far as the context is concerned, this differs from developing and developed countries, since the nature of both the health and education systems of these countries differ. Interprofessional health education should take place in a meaningful and relevant context that reflects current or future trends. The desired outcomes for interprofessional health education should include collaboration among health professionals, thus resulting in improved health care.
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