Professor Debra Rowett has pointed out the need for interprofessional communication to help address a number of health issues

Speaking at the Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom, AO Distinguished Lecture series in Canberra last month, Prof Rowett said such communication was key in practice, policy and education.

It is also necessary to improve patient journeys and optimise outcomes from the use of medicines, the past Australian Pharmacy Council president said.

Internationally, health systems are moving to address challenges in providing effective and timely value-based care.

Team-based care is a vital component of this, she said.

“The increasing array of diagnostic tests, complexity of illnesses, multimorbidity, interventions and care options combined with the number of health carers and organisations involved can make it difficult for patients and providers of care to negotiate the health care system,” Prof Rowett said.

“The longitudinal care required for an ageing population and those living with chronic disease requires consideration of effective oral and technical communication between health care team members, their patients and their carers and families.

“Successful interprofessional communication cannot be left to chance. It is a skill that needs to have the same amount of investment as that of the effort we put into communication with our patients.”

As pointed out in the Australian Pharmacy Council’s Insights newsletter, Prof Rowett has spent significant time introducing interprofessional communication training into South Australia’s intern training program, as well as postgraduate programs at the University of Queensland.

This sort of training in interprofessional communication must become part of pharmacy education, she said.

“We need to prepare the pharmacists of tomorrow to not only be competent and the best in their field, but to be collectively competent – we need both for successful healthcare teams.”