Integrated care: unlocking the mysteries

Mystery is not a word that we often connect with health and care as these are worlds in which we like to deal with the practical and the real. However it often seems that working out how best to successfully co-ordinate the contribution of different professionals, services and agencies is clouded in uncertainty and doubt.

One contributory issue is that integrated care is not a simple intervention. It can perhaps best be classified as a complex, multi-component programme to improve the quality of healthcare. Moreover, integrated care is foremost known for its polymorphous nature. Underlying integrated care is a wide range of very varied interventions and care approaches. Not surprisingly, recent literature reviews of integrated care, trying to draw conclusions on the differential impacts of approaches evaluated in individual studies, collectively reveal that the evidence base is inconsistent. It gets troublesome when studies recommend that more research is needed referring to the classic format of experimental design. Similar to the notice that ‘doing more of the same,’ when redesigning healthcare, is not going to bring improvement, researchers need to rethink how to evaluate integrated care for research to improve decision making.

These first two paragraphs are part of a blog made by Bert Vrijhoef, Chief Innovation Officer. The entire blog is based on his talks at a Research Seminar and a Workshop organized by Birmingham University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 14 & 15 September 2016.

The full blog can be found on the website of the Birmingham University!