Bridging the Mental Health and Medical Care Chasm: Impact of Interprofessional Care Conferences to Enhance Patient Safety and Cultivate Collaborative Skills in Family Medicine Residents Across Two Autonomous Health Systems
Patients with severe mental illness often lack care coordination between primary care and mental health providers. Siloed patient care across separate healthcare systems can negatively impact quality and safety of patient care. Team-based care is integral in the effective management of patients with multiple comorbidities, with the family medicine physician central in coordinating holistic care. Family medicine residency programs must provide models of effective interprofessional collaboration and mental health treatment to prepare residents to navigate an evolving healthcare landscape. The purpose of this study was to evaluate family medicine residents’ learning from the care conference experience and to assess how an interprofessional care conference experience impacts residents’ perceived knowledge and confidence in providing holistic collaborative care.
To bridge care and cultivate the necessary skills, a family medicine clinic and mental health clinic implemented monthly interprofessional care conferences to coordinate the healthcare of their shared patients. Residents who participated in the care conference (n=11) completed a retrospective pre/post survey to gather perceptions of what they learned from the interprofessional care conference experience. The survey assessed residents’ understanding of providing holistic care, confidence in medication safety monitoring of second-generation antipsychotics, confidence in developing comprehensive patient-centered care plans, understanding of interprofessional roles, and future plans for interprofessional collaboration.
After participating in the care conferences, all residents agreed they understood the elements that must be considered to provide holistic patient care, were confident conducting medication safety monitoring for their patients taking second-generation antipsychotics, and agreed the care conference helped them develop a more comprehensive patient-centered care plan. Additionally, they all intend to work collaboratively across professions in the future.
Interprofessional and cross-organizational care conferences create an authentic learning environment that enhances family medicine residents’ understanding and confidence in providing collaborative and holistic care for patients with severe and persistent mental illness.
Practice is a life-long learning process. Interprofessional education is most impactful in the clinical learning environment linked directly to interprofessional practice in pursuit of the Quadruple Aim. Coordinating care across organizations and professions can enhance patient safety and cultivate interprofessional collaborative practice skills in future family physicians.