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Background: Video conferencing and a virtual environment was used for teaching interprofessional practice (IPP) when caring for the elderly with students from eight healthcare professions. Is this pedagogy perceived as effective by the students in Interprofessional Competency Domains1?

Methods: Twenty interprofessional conferences (90 minutes in length) were conducted. Students from nursing, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, social work, nutrition, medicine, exercise science, and pharmacy collaboratively developed a plan of care for a frail elder.

Using the Interprofessional Competency Domains1, an evaluation survey was developed which included 14 Likert-scaled, five open-ended, and demographic questions. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics in the aggregate for all students and by discipline. Differences between disciplines were compared using Fisher’s exact test. A qualitative analysis was performed on students’ comments.

Findings: Eighty-three students completed the survey in the first year. Participants were predominantly female (77%) and white/Caucasian (83%). More than 60% of students strongly agreed on the value of the experience in the four competency domains. There were no significant differences by discipline (p values for difference between disciplines ranged from 0.14 to 0.89 depending on question). Thematic analysis of open-ended questions indicated the educational value of the experience; however, preference remained for in-person meetings. Second year results will be added after December, 2014.

Discussion: This virtual interprofessional practice experience showed positive ratings by students for the elements of collaborative practice in the first year and offered a means to offset the logistical difficulties of scheduling students from 8 professions. The creation of a “virtual environment” for students to interview the patient and meet for conferencing was added to the project in the second year and evaluation of this addition will also be presented.

Recommendation for Future Research: Further research involving IPP educational pedagogy and the use of distance technologies is needed.