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How To: Advocate for IPP in Your Clinic or School

Sometimes, the most difficult part of interprofessional practice (IPP) is getting your administrators to make it a priority. To help you get your manager or colleagues onboard with IPP, we’ve put together a few key talking points. These talking points address common myths and misconceptions about IPP and explain why it’s so beneficial for health care and education professionals.

Meeting with your manager soon? Download the talking points to help guide your conversation for a school setting [PDF] or a healthcare setting [PDF]. These Public Service Announcements may also be helpful in explaining the benefits of interprofessional practice.

Talking Point #1: It’s better for our students and patients.

  • That’s what most audiologists and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have found. Nearly 95% of audiologists and SLPs who responded to ASHA’s 2019 Interprofessional Practice Survey [PDF] said that they engaged in IPP because it improves outcomes for the patients and students in their care.

  • In a health care setting: With better collaboration, IPP teams reduce gaps in patient care. This means that we see fewer diagnostic errors and redundant services. Without collaborative teams, patients can waste time and money seeing multiple specialists—and still not get the help they need.

  • In an education setting: By involving all team members—from we can get a complete understanding of our students’ strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, and family life. It also means that our individualized education programs (IEPs) and other plans can support our students beyond just what we see in our particular classroom. IEPs can include support for families, build on what other educators are doing, and incorporate our students’ interests.

 

Talking Point #2: IPP is different than what we are already doing.

  • Yes, we already work together on teams and prioritize good communication. But IPP is more than that.

  • IPP is an intentional approach to collaboration. IPP teams follow a framework to ensure that team members are sharing information, creating joint plans, and reflecting on their progress.

  • Here’s the IPP process in a nutshell: It starts by sharing information about the patient or student with the entire team—to ensure that everyone has the necessary background. Then, team members create an assessment plan, where each member evaluates the patient or student according to their specialty. After reporting their findings to the whole group, the team collaboratively develops a plan not only for treatment but also for working together. Learn more about the process.

 

Talking Point #3: IPP will ultimately save us time.

  • Yes, successful interprofessional collaboration does require meetings and ongoing communication. But it saves time in the long run.

  • The IPP framework guides a team in working together. This does involve meetings. However, these meetings have a clear purpose, and each member has a clearly defined role. The team decides together how often they will meet and communicate—which means that IPP should eliminate unnecessary meetings and give team members the ability to opt out when their expertise is no longer needed.

  • In a health care setting, better collaboration reduces redundant services and poor planning. By working together on a single treatment plan for a patient, health care professionals save time by coordinating their services—such as having a patient see multiple specialists in a single visit.

  • In an education setting: IPP streamlines planning and developing solutions for students. By working together on shared goals for a student, educators can more efficiently collect data, communicate with families, and build on other team members’ work.

 

Talking Point #4: IPP will help us work better together as a team.

  • IPP teams are collaborative—in a deliberate way. All members of an IPP team work together to create and execute the treatment plan as well as set ground rules, such as frequency of meetings, for the team. By involving everyone and setting clear roles and expectations, IPP teams can help reduce conflicts and enable all members to contribute the team’s expertise and value.

  • IPP teams don’t have a hierarchy. No specialty or role is more important than another. All members’ expertise is equally valued, and team members support each other’s work with the student or patient and their family. The focus is on getting the best outcome.

  • ASHA members who use IPP found that the approach helps them demonstrate their value and expertise to colleagues. More than 70% of respondents to ASHA’s 2019 Interprofessional Practice Survey [PDF] said that improving “relationships with other disciplines” was a reason they engaged in IPP.

 

Talking Point #5: IPP is increasingly popular.

  • The IPP framework may be new to audiology and speech-language pathology, but it is rapidly gaining popularity in these professions.

  • As of 2019, 72% of audiologists and SLPs participated in IPP, according to ASHA’s most recent Interprofessional Practice Survey [PDF]. In 2016, that number was 55%.

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