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Interprofessional/multiprofessional health professions education: designing an efficient search to scope the literature of this exploding field

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Abstract Background and objective: 

With the advent of an interprofessional approach to delivering health care in today's health care systems, should health care professionals be educated together? Supported by policy-making circles worldwide, interprofessional education is accumulating a research literature at an exponential rate. Using one-word search terms in themedlinequery box for scoping this body of literature, we obtained an unmanageable number of articles (342 338 in all fields). The objective of our study was to outline an efficient specific query. Methods: 

We created 1072 phrasal search terms consisting of a prefix, an adjective and a noun. Of those, 66 were prolific for the whole indexed period (1950–2006). Results: 

Only 2510 citations have the search term in allmedlinefields; of those 2049 were in title/abstract and 652 in title alone. From the 1950s, the citations were published at a slow rate, but the rate then exploded during the decade 1995 to 2006. The combination of prefixes ‘inter’ and ‘multi’ with the adjectives ‘professional’, ‘disciplinary’ and ‘shared’, and the nouns ‘education’, ‘learning’ and ‘training’ may retrieve almost all the relevant citations, while the terms ‘collaborative’ and ‘common’ may retrieve mainly irrelevant ones. The adjective ‘cohesive’ and nouns ‘practice’ and ‘role’ should be also considered. Conclusion: 

Phrasal search terms highly increased the relevance ofmedline-retrieved citations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Ioannina University Medical School, Ioannina, Greece and 2: Centre for Medical Education, Dundee University Medical School, Dundee, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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