Interprofessional collaborative patient-centred care: a critical exploration of two related discourses

J Interprof Care. 2015 Mar;29(2):113-8. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2014.954284. Epub 2014 Sep 2.


There has been sustained international interest from health care policy makers, practitioners, and researchers in developing interprofessional approaches to delivering patient-centred care. In this paper, we offer a critical exploration of a selection of professional discourses related to these practice paradigms, including interprofessional collaboration, patient-centred care, and the combination of the two. We argue that for some groups of patients, inequalities between different health and social care professions and between professionals and patients challenge the successful realization of the positive aims associated with these discourses. Specifically, we argue that interprofessional and professional-patient hierarchies raise a number of key questions about the nature of professions, their relationships with one another as well as their relationship with patients. We explore how the focus on interprofessional collaboration and patient-centred care have the potential to reinforce a patient compliance model by shifting responsibility to patients to do the "right thing" and by extending the reach of medical power across other groups of professionals. Our goal is to stimulate debate that leads to enhanced practice opportunities for health professionals and improved care for patients.

Keywords: Interprofessional collaboration; patient-centred practice; professional practice.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Group Processes
  • Health Personnel / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Knowledge
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient Participation
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Social Work / organization & administration