Cost effective interprofessional training: an evaluation of a training unit in Denmark

Torben Baek Hansen, Flemming Jacobsen, Kristian Larsen
Journal of Interprofessional Care 2009, 23 (3): 234-41
In 2004, the first Danish undergraduate interprofessional training unit (ITU) was established at the Regional Hospital Holstebro, inspired by experiences from Sweden. In this unit, medical, nursing, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students are given responsibility, under supervision by trained and motivated personnel, for rehabilitation and care of patients in a subunit of an orthopaedic department. The aim of this study was to see whether the ITU was cost effective in treating patients compared with a conventional orthopaedic ward. One-hundred and thirty-four patients admitted for primary hip or knee replacement surgery were included in the study. All costs were recorded in the ITU and in the conventional ward. Follow-up was done by a quality of life questionnaire three months after the operation. Comparison was done by univariable and multivariable testing of costs and effect. In both, the ITU was more cost effective than the conventional ward. No difference was found in complications and patient-reported quality of life. In conclusion, clinical training can be given to students in an ITU without reducing productivity in a hospital environment if pedagogic principles, clinical tutors and patient logistics all adapt to the challenge of the teaching environment.

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