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Bridging the Clinical, Academic Gap Won't Be Easy

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, April 11, 2013

Although physicians and hospitals continue to push for more collaborative care with multidisciplinary teams, they have a number of hurdles to overcome before realizin g the holy grail of full-blown cooperation.

One of the root problems starts with the lack of integration between academic and clinical settings.

In January, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, an organization that focuses on healthcare education, convened a meeting among educators and healthcare providers to discuss the need for "interprofessional education" with a focus for both sides on understanding each other's needs, perspectives, attitudes, and strategies to deliver better care.

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In a recent follow-up report, the Macy Foundation concluded that academics aren't communicating properly with practicing clinicians, and it's a serious problem. The result, the report says, is disjointed oversight of care that too often bypasses team-based care and too often fails to elevate the needs of patients and families—which is sorely needed to improve healthcare delivery models.

The blame extends beyond academicians and physicians; it also rests upon onerous regulatory requirements. As it now exists, healthcare education and healthcare delivery have "developed and functioned separately with little recognition that the two are inextricably linked," the Macy Foundation report states.

To make needed changes, the report indicates that healthcare professionals and academics must coordinate their goals and evaluate accreditation standards, data and clinical care focus. "Achieving this goal will require changing expectations for health professional competencies," the report states.

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