The goal of National Interprofessional Health Care Month is to recognize that quality healthcare is in the best interest of the public. This maintains the “independence, productivity, happiness, overall welfare, and well-being of society.” The delivery of quality health care requires the collaboration of professionals across multiple disciplines.
In light of National Interprofessional Health Care Month, we’re recognizing the resilience of our employees and their efforts to provide the best healthcare globally.
PRA is united and steadfast in supporting our approximately 5,600 employees with healthcare backgrounds. We cherish their expertise and dedication to saving lives through whatever means possible.
What is Interprofessional Healthcare Collaboration?
The World Health Organization defines interprofessional healthcare collaboration as “multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds working together with patients, families, carers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.” Recently published research has shown that poor interprofessional collaboration leads to poor patient outcomes, adversely affecting services and patient care.
More specifically, effective interprofessional healthcare collaboration leads to:
- Better access to health interventions
- Better coordination between healthcare sectors
- Better experiences for patients and their families
- A safe healthcare system
- Efficient resource use
- Increased job satisfaction for healthcare providers
Collaboration at PRA
The biopharmaceutical industry collaborates extensively in interprofessional healthcare, striving to develop and test treatments that will lead to quality of life and care improvements for patients globally. At PRA Health Sciences, we take pride in our contributions to the interprofessional healthcare paradigm.
Five values guide PRA Health Sciences employees and culture: human centricity, integrity, passion, resourcefulness, and agility. Each of these values contributes directly to the work we do both in drug development and through creating a healthier world and informs the work our employees do every single day.
The Center for Pediatric Clinical Development (CPCD) reflects how PRA works cross-functionally to change the childrens' care landscape. The CPCD runs a vast network of study sites, allowing for collaboration and consultation with numerous global pediatric experts. They also help ease the clinical trials recruitment process.
The Pediatric Site Network—another example of interprofessional collaboration—includes a select group of internationally recognized pediatric centers and global medical professionals who all share the goal of innovating in pediatric clinical design.
“At PRA, we’re committed to collaboration,” says Heather Peterson, Pediatric Strategy Liaison at the PRA CPCD. “In our Center for Pediatric Clinical Development, in particular, we utilize our cross-functional team members to create trials that deliver strategy driven focused insights. We couldn’t do this without our pediatric collaboration team.”
Benefits and Challenges
Every healthcare employee brings something different and valuable to the table. Diversity—in culture, background, skills, and beyond—benefits the healthcare system as a whole, from patients to pharma CEOs. Diversity allows different perspectives to take a seat at the same table, leading to better communication, better care access, and better patient satisfaction.
Interprofessional collaboration goes beyond communicating effectively with other departments. It requires industry stakeholders—from pharmaceutical companies to hospital networks to individual doctors’ offices—to engage with each other and with patients to provide the best healthcare environment.
There are numerous ways to encourage interprofessional healthcare collaboration all across healthcare specialties. Participating in training and professional development outside of an employee’s specific department is just one way that employees can foster a collaborative environment.
At the most basic level, education is key: re-training industry stakeholders to work together can also facilitate interprofessional collaboration. According to an article published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, there are four basic principles that all health professionals—regardless of industry—should learn:
- Assert values and ethics of interprofessional practice by “placing the interests, dignity, and respect of patients at the center of health care delivery
- Leverage the unique roles and responsibilities of interprofessional partners as a way to “appropriately assess and address the health care needs
- Communicate with patients, families, communities, and other health professionals
- Effectively perform across team-based roles to deliver care that is “safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable”
Our modern healthcare system is specialized and complex. It requires the cooperation of professionals and stakeholders across multiple disciplines to deliver care. Although the steps to encourage this collaboration are simple, challenges may need to be faced when implementing a working model based on interprofessional collaboration. These challenges include information sharing and learning how to effectively interact with other healthcare professionals and consumers.
Different stakeholders are also likely to have differing perspectives on industry issues. A biopharma research and development employee, for example, might see things differently than a physician who works directly with rare disease patients daily.
Still, each of these healthcare professionals bring a valuable perspective to the table—and likely have the same goal. Through interprofessional collaboration, these two experts in their respective fields can come together to focus on the most important part of the equation: the patient.
We recognize the value and importance of interprofessional collaboration in the healthcare field. Our employees are encouraged to respectfully apply these values to all of their work, whether internally or externally.
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