A comprehensive systematic review of pharmacy perspectives on interprofessional education and collaborative practice

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018 Oct;14(10):863-882. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2017.11.001. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Introduction: Pharmacists are key professionals in the collaborative working process and are integral members of the healthcare team. However, there is paucity of information regarding their perspectives towards interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice.

Aims: The aim of this systematic review is to synthesise, summarise and evaluate the quality of the quantitative and qualitative literature related to the perspectives of pharmacy students, pharmacy faculty and practising pharmacists toward IPE and collaborative practice. The perspectives included their views, experiences and attitudes with a special focus on their perceived benefits and challenges in relation to IPE and collaborative practice.

Methods: An integrated mixed method systematic review was conducted. Four electronic databases were searched for articles published in English between 2000 and 2015. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT) was used to assess the quality of the studies.

Results: Twenty-nine articles were identified meeting the selection criteria from the first initial search of 8512 articles. Seventeen articles (59%) targeted pharmacy students, 11 articles (38%) focused on practising pharmacists and 1 study (3%) was related to pharmacy faculty. The majority of studies were conducted in the United States (n = 13), were published in the last five years (83%, n = 24) and employed quantitative methods (52%, n = 15). The two commonly used survey instruments to measure the perspectives were: different versions of the RIPLS (35%, n = 6) and the IEPS scale (35%, n = 6). Fourteen of the 29 studies were rated as low quality (MMAT = 25%), eight studies were rated as average quality (MMAT = 50%), four were rated as high quality (MMAT 75%) and three were rated as very poor quality (MMAT 0%). No studies were rated with 100% MMAT quality. Overall, the findings suggest that pharmacy students, practicing pharmacists and faculty valued interprofessional education and collaborative practice and had positive attitudes towards it. Five main findings have been identified from this review: heterogeneity in reporting IPE research, traditional professional image of the pharmacist, lack of longitudinal follow-up, lack of IPE research on faculty and paucity in mixed method studies in terms of quality and numbers.

Conclusions: These findings will provide an opportunity to stakeholders and policy makers to develop and implement IPE activities that are meaningful, comprehensive and unique. Sustained efforts are required not just in undergraduate curricula but also in healthcare settings to improve and promote an interprofessional culture at individual and organisational level.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Education, Pharmacy*
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Pharmacies
  • Students, Pharmacy