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Abstract

This paper describes the design and evaluation of an interprofessional clinic that prepares students for future healthcare delivery, while serving the needs of a growing diabetic population via improved access and coordination of quality team-based services, in a convenient, efficient, and culturally sensitive patient-centered environment.

Representing Optometry, Dental Health Science, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Physician Assistant Studies, and Pharmacy, 25 faculty providers and 84 professional students volunteered to attend a monthly Interprofessional Diabetes Clinic (IDC) during its first year. Patient care was followed by an interprofessional case management conference. The bilingual Patient Care Coordinator facilitated navigation of the predominantly Latino patients, coordinating follow-up care, referrals, patient/family health and lifestyle education, and preventive services delivered by the healthcare team and community.

Data for the first 50 consecutive patients are summarized to provide a demographic portrait of the clinic population. The results of anonymous patient and student evaluations gathered to inform the ongoing design and practice of the IDC are also provided. Patient satisfaction was high, rating care on a scale ranging from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) as 4.7 (M, SD = 0.6); 97 percent would refer others to the IDC. Students rated their overall experience very favorably, highlighting knowledge gained for other professions’ roles (M = 4.3, SD = 0.7); the collaborative learning environment (M = 4.2, SD = 0.6); more comprehensive knowledge of diabetic patients (M = 4.3, SD = 0.7); and an increased appreciation of the value of interprofessional patient care delivery (M = 4.4, SD = 0.6).

University-based interprofessional teaching and practice models for care of chronic disease, such as diabetes, have the potential to transform future healthcare by providing students opportunities for clinical experience in a coordinated practice setting.

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