The REACH project: Implementing interprofessional practice at Australia's first student-led clinic
Ellen Buckley1, Tamara Vu2, Louisa Remedios3
1 Department of Physiotherapy, BPhysio(Hons), School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
2 Final Year Student 2011, Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
3 Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Physiotherapy, School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne Alan Gilbert Building, 161 Barry Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053
Source of Support: This project was partially funded by a grant under the Workforce Innovation Grant Program, Department of Human Services, Victoria, Australia., Conflict of Interest: None
Background: REACH (Realising Education and Access in Collaborative Health) is an initiative of students of the University of Melbourne to improve access to primary health care services. It is driven by the voluntary commitment of over 120 students and is built upon the principles of collaboration, interprofessionalism and client-centered care. Summary of work: The feasibility of student-led clinics has been demonstrated with the operation of over 100 such clinics in North America. Senior students from Medicine, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Social Work attended a student-run clinics conference in Jacksonville, Florida, USA in 2010. On return, research was conducted to identify a local underserviced community appropriate for a clinic. On review of the literature, it was determined an interprofessional model of care would best serve this community. The student body engaged a local community health service as a project partner. The model of care at the REACH Clinic was developed by senior students from the schools of Medicine, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Social Work and managed by an interconnected student committee structure. The final consultation model involves a triage process and simultaneous consultation by two disciplines. This model of care was successfully implemented during a 4-week pilot period in October 2011. Results: Several issues were identified during the REACH pilot, with dissonance between the at-times competing principles in health care of interprofessionalism, client-centered care and efficient care. Conclusions: An interprofessional model of care was developed and successfully implemented in a 4-week pilot student-run clinic within an established community health service. While providing a free health service, this model facilitated interprofessional learning at both a clinical and management level and highlighted logistical and ideological challenges that served as the basis for further refinement of this model of community service .