Research Article: Interprofessional education in medical schools in Japan

Date Published: January 17, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Takami Maeno, Junji Haruta, Ayumi Takayashiki, Hisashi Yoshimoto, Ryohei Goto, Tetsuhiro Maeno, Amy Michelle DeBaets.

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210912

Abstract

Interprofessional education (IPE) for medical students is becoming increasingly important, as reflected in the increasing number of medical schools adopting IPE. However, the current status of and barriers to pre-registration IPE implementation in Japanese medical schools remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to clarify the status and barriers of IPE implementation in medical schools in Japan. We conducted a curriculum survey from September to December 2016 of all 81 medical schools in Japan. We mailed the questionnaire and asked the schools’ undergraduate education staff to respond. The survey items were the IPE implementation status and barriers to program implementation. Sixty-four of the 81 schools responded (response rate 79.0%), of which 46 (71.9%) had implemented IPE, 42 (89.1%) as compulsory programs. Half of IPE programs were implemented in the first 2 years, while less than 10% were implemented in the latter years of medical programs. As part of the IPE programs, medical students collaborated with a wide range of professional student groups. The most common learning strategy was lectures. However, one-third of IPE programs used didactic lectures without interaction between multi-professional students. The most common perceived major barrier to implementing IPE was adjustment of the academic calendar and schedule (82.8%), followed by insufficient staff numbers (73.4%). Our findings indicate that IPE is being promoted in undergraduate education at medical schools in Japan. IPE programs differed according to the circumstances of each school. Barriers to IPE may be resolved by improving learning methods, introducing group discussions between multi-professional students in lectures or introducing IPE programs using team-based learning. In summary, we demonstrated the current status and barriers of IPE implementation in Japanese medical schools. Our findings will likely lead to the promotion of IPE programs in Japan.

Partial Text

The increasing complexity of medical systems in our aging society has led to increased emphasis on a patient-centered collaborative approach to care [1]. To improve collaborations, interprofessional education (IPE) is an essential strategy in both pre-licensure and post-licensure contexts. IPE has been promoted as an integral part of undergraduate education. In a survey of pre-registration interprofessional education in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2010–2012, 52 of 127 educational institutions responded with information concerning 63 IPE courses and modules [2]. In Australia and New Zealand, a survey targeting 43 universities offering nursing, pharmacy and medical programs received responses from 31 of the 43 target universities, 80% of which reported implementing IPE [3].

We conducted a national curriculum survey from September to December 2016 of all 81 medical schools in Japan. We mailed a questionnaire to each medical school’s teaching affairs office and asked the undergraduate education staff to respond. We sent reminder postcards and made a final phone call to the medical schools that did not respond.

Sixty-four of the 81 medical schools in Japan responded to the questionnaire, with a response rate of 79.0%. The staff at each of the medical schools provided responses. Of the medical schools that responded, 32 were national (76.2% of all national schools), 8 were prefectural public (100.0% of all prefectural public schools), and 30 were private (76.7% of all private schools) schools (Table 1). Forty-six of the 64 (71.9%) medical schools had implemented a total of 111 IPE programs.

This survey found that IPE has been adopted by approximately 70% of medical schools in Japan, with 90% of these schools implementing IPE as a compulsory program. The IPE programs were implemented according to the actual circumstances of each school. Clarification of the current status of IPE programs is expected to improve the process of introducing IPE and resolve barriers to IPE, and will lead to the promotion of IPE in Japan.

IPE is being promoted in undergraduate education at medical schools in Japan. IPE programs differed according to the circumstances of each medical school. Barriers to IPE may be resolved by improving learning methods, introducing group discussions between multi-professional students in lectures and introducing IPE programs using TBL. Clarification of the current status and barriers of IPE in Japanese medical schools may help to promote IPE programs in Japan. IPE is a crucial component of undergraduate medical curricula around the world. The results of this study will also be useful in Asian countries that are developing IPE.

 

Source:

http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210912

 

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