What is integrated care?
Integrated care means combining different parts of the health and social care system so that they work seamlessly together.
The opposite of integrated care is fragmented care which leads to:
- patients accessing the wrong care, in the wrong place, due to the complexity of the system
- patients having to repeat their stories to different healthcare professionals numerous times and information not being shared in a timely or appropriate way
- patients seeing healthcare professionals who are not up-to-date with their story, resulting in duplication
of effort and less effective care
- patients receiving treatments which have already tried before, are unlikely to work, or, in the worst case, are potentially harmful
- healthcare professionals trying to deliver care without the most up-to-date patient information or the expertise of a wider multidisciplinary team.
In an integrated system, patients see the professional who can most meet their needs at any one time, regardless of the organisation that professional works for.