Interprofessional collaboration and patient safety: an integrative review
Interprofessional collaboration is a model of care that can improve patient safety. However, the evolution of knowledge about these two interrelated topics has largely occurred in isolation of each another. Consequently, it is argued that a lack of integration between interprofessional collaboration and patient safety has generated a barrier to a specific way forward to guide how collaborative practice can positively influence safe patient care. To examine this further, the research questions for this review explores the relationships between these topics and asks how interprofessional collaboration can support patient safety now and in the future.
The research design is an integrative literature review. Literature was reviewed initially using a Critical Appraisal Skills Programme evaluation tool. Parallel to this the literature was analysed thematically and several themes identified. Firstly, it is evident that the relationships between interprofessional collaboration and patient safety are broad and discussions of the topics are generalised. Secondly, current models of interprofessional collaboration do not support patient safety because patients appear to be passive within the collaborative relationship. Thirdly, if interprofessional collaboration and patient safety are to be progressed in practice, a theoretically informed model is needed to assist health professionals and organisations to develop a culture change. Recommendations of this report have focused on how the relationships between interprofessional collaboration and patient can be progressed. This can be achieved by choosing explicit patient safety outcome measures, in an interprofessional collaborative context, that encompasses the broad spectrum of patient safety. To achieve this aim, a more flexible theoretical and methodological approach can be applied to a research question. Furthermore, to reverse the moderate quality of research articles available to date, use of an evaluation framework will support disciplined reporting of research outcomes. Finally, further development of an interprofessional collaborative and patient safety evaluation model is a recommendation for future development. This early model development integrates components of organisational preparedness and interprofessional competencies to enable organisations to assess the degree that collaborative practice exists within them. Patient safety forms the central core of this model and is reinforced as the primary focus and central point for all health professionals.