Activity 1: Evidence basis for interprofessional collaboration

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In this activity, you will examine two systematic reviews, and a summary of these reviews, on interprofessional collaboration and knowledge translation. The first two articles are Cochrane systematic reviews. The first looks at the evidence related to practice-based interprofessional collaboration. In 2007, research in this area was only beginning to emerge (it continues in its infancy stage today), so only five studies met the inclusion criteria. Clearly, this lack of numerous studies limits the generalizability of the findings. However, the reviewers suggest that these five studies indicate that practice-based interprofessional collaboration interventions can improve health care processes and outcomes.

While the outcome of interprofessional collaboration appears to contribute to positive outcomes, the “research continues to suggest that collaboration between these professionals can be problematic” (Reeves et al., 2013). The second systematic review considers the efficacy of interprofessional education, which Reeves et al. (2013) define “as an intervention where the member of more than one health or social care profession, or both learn interactively together, for the explicit purpose of improving interprofessional collaboration or the health/well-being of patients/clients, or both” (p.2).

Seven of the 15 studies reviewed found some positive outcomes, some of which were associated with the management of care delivered in cases of domestic violence and mental health. Due to the small number of studies, it is not possible to generalize the findings or identify the key elements of interprofessional education and its effectiveness.

The final article in this activity links together interprofessional collaboration, interprofessional education, and knowledge translation. Although the primary study on which this article reports is related to internal medicine, the routes suggested for interprofessional education and collaboration may have some value for the substance use field

You will notice that all of these articles are co-authored by Zwarenstein and Reeves. Dr. Zwarenstein is a health services researcher and a senior scientist with the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative, has an affiliation with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Continuing Education at the University of Toronto, and has been a leader in primary care physician knowledge translation interventions in Ontario. Dr. Scott Reeves is a British social scientist who currently is a professor in interprofessional research at the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Kingston University and St. George’s University of London. He was the founding director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Innovation in Interprofessional Healthcare Education.


  1. Read the following:
    • Zwarenstein, M., Goldman, J. & Reeves, S. (2009). Interprofessional collaboration: Effects of practice-based interventions on professional practice and healthcare outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3, Art. No.: CD000072. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000072.pub2.
    • Reeves, S., Perrier, L., Goldman, J., Freeth, D., & Zwarenstein, M. (2013). Interprofessional education: Effects on professional practice and healthcare outcomes (update). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3, DOI: 10.1002/14651858.C002213.pub3
    • Zwarenstein, M., & Reeves, S. (2006). Knowledge translation and interprofessional collaboration: Where the rubber of evidence-based care hits the road of teamwork. The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26, 46–54.
  2. As you read these articles and reviews, think about your experiences with interprofessional practice. Under what conditions have you seen interprofessional collaboration to be successful in implementing evidence-based practices and positive patient/client outcomes? Take the time to post your experience to the discussion forum entitled “Interprofessional Collaboration.” You may want to read what others have posted, and comment or ask questions.