A scoping review to improve conceptual clarity of interprofessional interventions

J Interprof Care. 2011 May;25(3):167-74. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2010.529960. Epub 2010 Dec 23.


Interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional collaboration (IPC) have been identified in health education and health care as playing an important role in improving health care services and patient outcomes. Despite a growth in the amount of research in these areas, poor conceptualizations of these interprofessional activities have persisted. Given the conceptual challenges, a scoping review of the interprofessional field was undertaken to map the literature available in order to identify key concepts, theories and sources of evidence. The objective of this review was to develop a theoretically based and empirically tested understanding of IPE and IPC. A total of 104 studies met the criteria and were included for analysis. Studies were examined for their approach to conceptualization, implementation, and assessment of their interprofessional interventions. Half of the studies were used for interprofessional framework development and half for framework testing and refinement. The final framework contains three main types of interprofessional interventions: IPE; interprofessional practice; and interprofessional organization; and describes the nature of each type of intervention by stage, participants, intervention type, interprofessional objectives, and outcomes. The outcomes are delineated as intermediate, patient, and system outcomes. There was very limited use of theory in the studies, and thus theoretical aspects could not be incorporated into the framework. This study offers an initial step in mapping out the interprofessional field and outlines possible ways forward for future research and practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Concept Formation*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Educational Status
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Professional Practice