Policy Analyses of Standards for Interprofessional Collaboration (Aug 2012)

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Title: Policy Analyses of Standards for Interprofessional Collaboration
Principal ApplicantTitle(s)Institutional AffiliationFunding AmountAnticipated Completion Date
Dr. Sandra Regan Assistant Professor School of Nursing, at University of Western Ontario


($20,000 fy 2010- 2012; $20,000 fy 2012- 2013)

August 2012
Co-Applicant(s)Titles(s)Institutional Affiliation(s)
Dr. Carole Orchard Associate Professor, Coordinator School of Nursing, and Office of Interprofessional Health Education and research, at University of Western Ontario
Dr. Hossein Khalili Professor Fanshawe College



Background: Changes to Ontario’s health professional regulatory system were initiated through various legislative amendments. Amendments made through Bill 171, the Health Systems Improvements Act, 2007,1 were extensive and aimed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the health regulatory system. Bill 179, the Regulated Health Professions Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009,2 amended the Regulated Health Professions Act3 (RHPA), and introduced a legislative obligation on health regulatory Colleges to collaborate interprofessionally where they share controlled acts and to incorporate interprofessional collaboration (IPC) into their quality assurance programs.
Purpose: The purpose of this policy analysis was to identify activities, strategies, and collaborations taking place pertaining to existing and anticipated legislative changes requiring promotion of interprofessional collaboration (IPC) by health regulatory Colleges.
Methods: A mixed methods approach was utilized and eight activities were conducted to collect data to inform this policy analysis: 1) Content analysis of College documents pertaining to IPC; 2) Interviews with representatives of Colleges; 3) Survey of College members; 4) Stakeholder roundtable; 5) Interviews with representatives of health professional associations; 6) Review of health professional entry-level competencies; 7) Review of health regulatory quality assurance (QA) programs; and 8) Review of relevant Ontario legislation.

Results and Discussion: Commitment to the ideal of IPC was evident in health regulatory College documents, interviews, and among participants in the survey. Colleges are partnering with other Colleges on initiatives that will support better collaboration among their members. Colleges are also working on their respective internal processes to integrate IPC into standards, QA programs, competencies, and continuing education offerings. Most health professional entry-level competencies incorporate expectations of team work or IPC. Much of the work pre-dates the legislative changes. Representatives from the Colleges indicated that they were unclear on the intent of the legislative change requiring they collaborate where they share controlled acts. At the time of the policy analysis, no Colleges had developed joint standards on shared controlled acts. College representatives indicated that while many had begun discussions regarding meeting the legislative requirements, it was likely too early to identify specific activities directly related to the legislation. College and Association representatives all identified the importance of IPC for safe, quality patient care. They also identified numerous barriers that continue to impede achievement of the ideals of IPC. These barriers stem from long-standing issues in practice including scope of practice protection, extant legislation, and lack of knowledge about the roles, skills, and expertise of other health professionals. The interrelatedness of the four levels studied in this policy analysis (education, regulation, systems of professions, and practitioner), along with the nature of the barriers to IPC suggests the need to bring stakeholders across these levels together to address impediments. Unlike what has been passed in Ontario, other provincial regulatory legislation has not specifically or explicitly linked QA programs with IPC but this may still be integrated into QA programs through individual College policy.