In recent years, the drive towards cost-effectiveness and efficiency, coupled with radical changes in healthcare education, have resulted in an increased need for collaboration, both at the interpersonal and institutional levels. Such collaborations were once regarded primarily as pragmatic ventures. Increasingly, however, there are reports of these collaborations yielding tangible benefits, both in terms of curriculum innovation and reconceptualization of the educational process. This paper draws upon some recent examples from the literature to examine the nature of collaborative partnerships in healthcare education. In particular, it discusses the development of collaborative practices and identifies diverse contexts (such as the sharing of resources and the integration of computer technologies in the curriculum) in which these practices evolve. This paper brings to the front changes that are triggered by collaborative initiatives, and highlights lessons learned for successful collaborations. © 2001, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.