Practical Managerial Lessons
The first step in effectively addressing a phenomenon is to understand its complexity, a principle that is highly relevant to integrated care management. Integrated care can best be described as a coherent and coordinated set of services that are planned, managed and delivered to individual service users across a range of organisations, involving cooperating professionals and informal care. It is a complex process that engages multiple players, organisations and services in its endeavour to achieve a number of outcomes. This complexity is a challenge for the efficient and effective coordination of all processes and stakeholders involved in integrated care.
We aim at improving coordination of the integrated care services, through the development of practical managerial recommendations on good practices of implementation (adoption) and delivery of integrated care. First, we will generate crucial – and transferable – knowledge on integrated care management. We are in the process of identifying the motivations and incentives behind the introduction of integrated care. This will enable us to better understand how different integrated programmes could be shaped and defined by different healthcare systems and specific local needs. The main components, barriers and facilitators of integrated care implementation and delivery will be defined.
The methodology of our study is presented in the figure below.
The main target audience of this study are coordinators of integrated care services, as well as healthcare professionals and managers who plan to implement integrated services in their units.
The final product of our work will be in the form of a handbook. This will guide users on the complexity of integrated care and all components that define integrated programmes. It will highlight major barriers and facilitators of successful implementation of integrated practices. By presenting a managerial framework, the handbook will also synthesise the complexity of integrated care processes in a structural way. Lastly, integrated care coordinators will find a number of managerial recommendations and practical tools that can be used in facilitating care integration.
We will present the final results of the study at the closing conference of the Project INTEGRATE, in May 2016.
We believe that the results and findings of our study will have a significant impact on the ability to gain deep insights into the aspects that shape the organisation and structure of integrated care delivery, as well as into those that facilitate or hamper the efficient functioning of integrated services. Best practices of integrated care adoption and delivery will also be highlighted. Most importantly, the handbook will provide managers and coordinators of integrated care services with a set of useful and practical tools. These tools will make it possible to measure, evaluate and improve the functioning of integrated services already in place, and to facilitate the introduction of new, successful integrated care programmes.