Breaking Down Professional Siloes – Using Interprofessional Education to Help Hospital Allied Health and Doctors Work Together

Ms Gemma Houston1, Ms Joan Leo1

1Mercy Hospitals Victoria, Werribee, Australia


Aim: To pilot an Allied Health (AH)-led Medical Education session for incoming Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) regarding multidisciplinary care to improve referral quality from Medical Officers to Allied Health, in order to improve timeliness and effectiveness of discharges.

Method: An interactive, Problem Based-Learning (PBL) approach to exploring and reflecting on coordinated care for treatment was implemented. The hospital’s AH therapy professionals evaluated the needs of case study of a ‘typical’ patient impacted by poor care and planning. Clinicians addressed key clinical and practical contributions to care, and also referral issues relating to prioritisation, treatment, and suitable discharge. The AH Clinical Educators led the session, supported by a team of AH Professionals offering expert subject-matter input. Evaluation occurred via survey of AH staff regarding changes in aspects of referral quality. The JMOs were also asked to identify how the session impacted their confidence in generating quality referrals.

Results: Eight JMOs participated and all reported increased confidence in providing appropriate and timely referrals, while AH staff reported improvement (non-significant) in referral timeliness (n = 7, p=0.12). Informal feedback from AH, JMOs and the Medical Education Officer was that the pilot was useful and furthered JMOs’ understanding of AH.

Significance of the findings to allied health: Having AH provide specific education to JMOs ensured learning was specific to both groups’ needs and addressed actual issues identified at the coalface of service delivery.


Gemma Houston is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Clinical Educator with experience across private practice, academic, professional advocacy and corporate health roles. She is currently the Grade 3 Allied Health Clinical Educator at Mercy Hospitals Victoria, with a focus on health workforce development and educational design for Allied Health and Interprofessional growth.