The future sustainability of health systems is increasingly shaped by ageing populations, urbanisation, and the globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles. Driven by these broad shifts in demographics and disease status, care has become ever more complex and costly. However, the fragmented nature of today’s health systems means that they are unable to respond effectively to meet these new demands. The continued and disproportionate focus on specialised and disease-based curative care models undermines the propensity of health systems to provide equitable, high-quality and economically sustainable care.
Across the world, these challenges represent a compelling case for transformational change. New and innovative approaches to care are required in the way health and care services are funded, managed and delivered such that they can simultaneously improve quality in care, support financial sustainability, and retain responsiveness to the needs and demands of people and communities. The move towards a more person-centred approach that engages and empowers people in their own care, combined with a more integrated care delivery model that co-ordinates services more effectively around their needs, has gathered momentum as a policy response to these challenges.
In this book, Integrated Care: Better and Cheaper, Professor Guus Schrijvers takes us on a journey to examine the hypothesis that person-centred integrated care can help care systems realise Triple Aim goals of: improving population health; increasing quality of care for the individual; and lowering per capita costs. By reviewing both the theory and practical development of these strategies – including many examples of good practices – the book provides a fresh perspective. By combining the importance of integrated care as a central design feature with the underpinning logic of a person-centred approach, the book sets out some new fundamentals in how better care and outcomes to people with complex needs will likely only be effectively realised by engaging people as partners in care.
There are few resources that provide an overview and understanding of integrated care processes and their potential to deliver Triple Aim objectives, so this book – together with its digital attachment of over two hundred case studies – will provide new thinking to support leading clinicians, policy-makers and scholars interested in understanding the implementation science behind care integration.
Moreover, the book demonstrates that (with the right set of ingredients) it is indeed possible to improve quality of care and outcomes and reduce costs. An important message, both now and for the future, in the challenges that lie ahead.
Dr Nick Goodwin, PhD
Chief Executive, International Foundation for Integrated Care
Editor-in-Chief, International Journal for Integrated Care