Sharmi Haque – Maastricht University: PedSig Essay 

The term "interprofessional education" (IPE) is used to describe the instructional methods through which  members of different healthcare professions may study together. The primary premise is that by working  together, greater results for patients may be attained. In settings where interdisciplinary and  multidisciplinary teams improve the quality of treatment for patients, it has been shown to be effective(1–3). Problem-based learning (PBL_ combined with IPE is rapidly becoming a standard component of both  undergraduate and graduate programmes. Mounting evidence demonstrates that IPE and PBL may improve  the attitudes of healthcare workers(4,5). However, cross-professional planning would be required to see  lasting results from either approach. Design thinking (DT) stands alongside project-based learning (PBL)  as a reliable approach at the forefront of innovation(6–9). Using DT and PBL in the IPE helps accelerate  the process of bettering treatment quality for patients.

Growing relevance of IPE is penetrative in contemporary healthcare, a model is needed to pinpoint  discordance between disciplines(10,11). To be successful in collaborative efforts, especially when tackling  difficult situations, it proves to have a nuanced perspective. By combining the viewpoints of healthcare  professionals with techniques like empathy, brainstorming, prototyping, and design, DT is a creative  process that bridges the gap between theory and practice. 

DT has been increasingly employed to enhance health care for patients through innovation in complex  healthcare systems including better clinical service delivery. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers  may learn how to improve the patient experience by engaging in a systematic design thinking process that  fosters greater awareness and empathy for the patient perspective(6,7,11,12). Future health care  professionals will need to be proficient in employing design thinking for the creation and implementation  of competitive offerings, and to hone the necessary modern skills" for navigating the contemporary  demanding healthcare system. The concern for medical educators is how to create opportunities for all  learners to acquire design mental capacities; it may potentiate the impact on how medical education  programmes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are structured(2). 

Drawing upon prior experience, the curation of the Intermediate Level 1 programme at The Healthcare  Leadership Academy, a multidisciplinary team of early career healthcare leaders were able to use PBL cases  in innovation to better understand the implications and opportunity value in the marketing of paediatric  innovation(2,4). Dutch medical curriculum pivots on the CANMed competencies: curriculum that equips  future doctors with the skills they need to work with young patients, including the confidence to  communicate effectively, knowledge of the spectrum of typical development in children and adolescents,  and the ability to recognise and respond to deviations from the norm(7–9,11). Orientation of DT, PBL and  IPE in both pre-clinical and clerkship training had enabled me to draw upon multiple disciplines to better  understand the end user - the patient(3–5).  

DT iteratively develops creativity and innovation, drawing upon IPE in medical education particularly where  novel solutions are required in paediatric medical education. Medical educators must teach present and  future healthcare professionals’ contemporary ways of thinking to incorporate the IPE evolving  sphere(1,2,4).


1. Aldriwesh MG, Alyousif SM, Alharbi NS. Undergraduate-level teaching and learning approaches for interprofessional education in the health professions: a systematic review. BMC  Med Educ. 2022 Dec 1;22(1).  

2. Raj S, Kelly D, Siddig M, Muppidi P, O’Connor C, Mckeague H, et al. Design and Evaluation of Interprofessional Training Program for Healthcare Students from Collectivistic  Culture. Med Sci Educ [Internet]. 2022 Apr 1 [cited 2022 Dec 2];32(2):447–55. Available from: 

3. Burgun A, Darmoni S, Duff F le, Wéber J. Problem-based learning in medical informatics for undergraduate medical students: An experiment in two medical schools. Int J Med  Inform. 2006 May;75(5):396–402.  

4. Miyata K, Aita Y, Nakajima S, Sekimoto M, Setaka Y, Tagoya Y, et al. Effectiveness of a case-based digital learning interprofessional workshop involving undergraduates in medical  technology, radiological science, and physical therapy: A pre-post intervention study. PLoS One. 2022 Jul 1;17(7 July).  

5. Khan H, Taqui AM, Khawaja MR, Fatmi Z. Problem-based versus conventional curricula: Influence on knowledge and attitudes of medical students towards health research. PLoS  One. 2007 Jul 18;2(7).  

6. L’Ecuyer KM, Pole D, Leander SA. The Use of PBL in an Interprofessional Education Course for Health Care Professional Students. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based  Learning [Internet]. 2015 Mar 25 [cited 2022 Dec 2];9(1):6. Available from: 

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9. Sandars J, Goh PS. Design Thinking in Medical Education: The Key Features and Practical Application. J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2020 Jan;7:238212052092651.  10. Thompson C. Do interprofessional education and problem-based learning work together? Clin Teach [Internet]. 2010 Sep [cited 2022 Dec 2];7(3):197–201. Available from: 

11. Acharya S, Bhatt AN, Chakrabarti A, Delhi VSK, Diehl JC, Mota N, et al. Design Thinking as a Strategy to Inculcate Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Undergraduate Education  Across South Asian Universities. Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Dec 2];222:547–59. Available from: 

12. Savery JR. Overview of Problem-based Learning: Definitions and Distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning [Internet]. 2006 May 22 [cited 2022 Dec  2];1(1):3. Available from:

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