Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Akoranga Integrated Health Clinic: Interprofessional Clinical Placements in Action

Daniel O’Brien and Naomi Heap

Akoranga Integrated Health Clinic (AIHC) was established at Auckland University of Technology’s North Shore campus in 2008. The establishment of the AIHC clinic signaled a move from a multi-disciplinary to an interprofessional approach in education and service provision. The move required changes to both clinic’s organization and practices, including AIHC policies and procedures, the approach taken by clinic staff to teaching, and in the way in which the students in the clinic interacted both with their patients and students from other professions based in the clinic. 

Full project description: 

Akoranga Integrated Health (AIH) Clinic was established at Auckland University of Technology’s North Shore campus in 2008. The clinic’s mandate is to provide both discipline specific and innovative interprofessional clinical learning experiences for students, as well as to contribute to the faculty and to provide a venue for research that supports IPCP and IPE. The clinic’s mission statement is:

 

“Akoranga Integrated Health is an innovative community service dedicated to the provision of collaborative person-centered healthcare through excellence in education and research.”

 

The AIH clinic contains a number of health disciplines including: counseling psychology, nursing, occupational therapy, oral health, physiotherapy (physical therapy), podiatry, psychotherapy, and speech and language therapy. The services, provided under expert supervision, are specific to the scopes of practice, but integrate when appropriate to patient needs. Reception and administration are centrally organized and clinical records are in transition from paper to electronic format, so as to improve access to notes across the services, and to ensure that each patient has only one integrated electronic health record and to provide a broader picture of the client’s health.

 

The most significant change at a management has been the establishment of a board of governors for the clinic. The board includes all of the heads of discipline of the professions represented within the clinic, the clinic manager, the head of the school and school manager of the School of Interprofessional Health sciences, and the Associated Dean of Health. This group ensures equal representation, responsibility and accountability from all of the professional groups represented within the clinic.

 

Many policies and procedures for the clinic needed to be adjusted or redrafted so that they were not uni-professional in nature but reflected the new interprofessional nature of the clinic. Furthermore, the patient records system was moved to electronic format to reduce duplication and allow for better information sharing within the clinic. This required significant capital investment from the University.

Strategies were employed to assist the clinic staff to begin to work in a more interprofessional fashion. This included clinic wide service and operationalization meetings and a continued professional development programs that included all staff based in the clinic. These sessions gave the staff opportunities to learn with from and about each other.

Finally initiatives were implemented to facilitate cross profession student interaction. Some of these initiatives were centralized around patient care, whereas others focused on student education. Students participate in interprofessional tutorials and case based tasks, as well as combined care appointment (where students form two or more professions participate in a single consultation with a patient) and condition specific services (i.e. cardiac failure clinic, which includes nursing, physiotherapy and psychology students).

 

 

 

In the 7 years since the clinic’s inception it has grown and adapted greatly, influenced by international trends in best practice in education and healthcare. 

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