Original Article

Implementation of Case Conferences to Improve Interprofessional Collaboration in Resident Continuity Clinic

Authors: Tanya Nikiforova, MD, MS, Carla L. Spagnoletti, MD, MS, Scott D. Rothenberger, PhD, Kwonho Jeong, MS, Peggy B. Hasley, MD, MHSc


Objectives: Residents must be trained in skills for interprofessional collaboration and team-based care in the outpatient setting, and successful models are needed to achieve this aim. A longitudinal curriculum was developed to enhance residents’ knowledge of interprofessional team members’ roles, residents’ attitudes toward team-based care, and patient referrals to team members.

Methods: Postgraduate year 1 through postgraduate year 3 internal medicine residents with continuity clinic at a large hospital-based practice received the curriculum. Residents with continuity clinic at another site did not receive the curriculum and served as controls. Intervention residents attended five small-group conferences during the course of 1 year, each dedicated to a specific interprofessional discipline: pharmacy, psychology, diabetes/nurse education, social work, and case management. Conferences involved interactive, case-based discussions of patients who benefit from an interprofessional approach. Control and intervention residents were surveyed with pre- and posttests. The rates of patient referrals to interprofessional team members were assessed.

Results: Seventy-one residents received the curriculum. Intervention residents’ knowledge of team members’ names and roles, indications for patient referral, and communication methods improved after curriculum implementation. Attitudes toward team-based care did not change but were positive at baseline. Following curriculum implementation, new patient referrals increased for the pharmacist (0.1–1/100 patient visits, P = 0.015) and psychologist (1.1–2.2/100 patient visits, P = 0.032).

Conclusions: Case-based interprofessional conferences improved residents’ knowledge regarding interprofessional care and increased referrals to team members. This curriculum addresses barriers to team-based care experienced by residents in continuity clinic and is adaptable to other clinic settings.

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