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The effectiveness of web-based interprofessional learning modules on health professional students’ behavioural intentions in relation to medication safety: A quasi- experimental study

S Lapkin, T Levett-Jones, C Gilligan


Background: Safe medication practices are a key focus of the global strategy to improve patient safety. Emerging evidence demonstrates that learning experiences focusing on developing collaborative skills such as mutual understanding of others’ roles, teamwork and interprofessional communication can enhance medication safety. However, interprofessional education for undergraduate students is limited by factors such timetabling restrictions and curricular constraints. Web-based approaches provide the opportunity to overcome these barriers. However, currently there is little empirical evidence of the effectiveness of web-based approaches in changing the behaviour of health professional students in relation to medication safety and collaborative practice.

Aim: To examine the impact of web-based interprofessional learning modules on health professional students’ behavioural intentions in relation to medication safety and team work.

Methods:  A quasi-experimental approach was employed to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning modules and 320 undergraduate health professions students were recruited.  Students were allocated to either an experimental (n= 155) or control group (n= 165). Participants in the experimental group completed a multimedia web-based learning module. The purpose-designed Theory of Planned Behaviour Medication Safety Questionnaire was used to compare behavioural intentions, attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control in relation to medication safety between the control and experimental groups.

Results:  Participants in the experimental group demonstrated significantly greater intention to practice in a way that enhances medication safety and collaborative practice than those in the control group, as evidenced by higher scores on all outcomes: behavioural intention (p <  0.001); attitude (p < 0.001); perceived behavioural control (p= 0.107); and subjective norm (p = 0.115).

Conclusion: The web-based interprofessional learning modules were an effective learning strategy for developing the behavioural intentions and attitudes inherent in safe medication practices.


attitudes; interprofessional education; health professional students; medication safety; theory of planned behaviour

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