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Exploring the value of interprofessional student-led clinics for chronic disease patients

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Interprofessional student-led clinics have recently been established to extend educational capacity beyond traditional single-discipline placements in the acute sector and to facilitate the development of a collaborative approach to health care.1 Although student satisfaction with interprofessional education (IPE) is common,2 it is unclear whether IPE improves chronic disease management, a global priority of health care practice.3 This study explored the impact of interprofessional student-led clinics on chronic disease management in the primary care setting.

Patients (n = 44) with chronic disease at a primary care practice in Melbourne were invited to attend a student-led interprofessional clinic made up of senior university student volunteers from medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and physiotherapy. In a one-hour consultation between May and September 2014, mixed-discipline student teams interviewed patients to explore their perceived health issues, review medications and make recommendations to the treating general practitioner. Postconsultation, health issues identified by students were analysed to determine if any new health concerns had been identified. At 6-week follow-up, patient files were audited and GPs consulted to determine whether the students’ recommendations had been implemented.