Integrated care, a challenge for health managers
28 August 2020
Around 75% of healthcare spending in Europe is allocated to managing and treating chronic diseases (Cohen, S. B., 2014). Chronic diseases represent a challenge for healthcare systems as several healthcare providers are involved in the care of the patient, ranging from general practitioners and nurses to hospitals, home care services and pharmacies. Patients suffering from chronic conditions face great difficulties if there is no coordination of the different care plans, and sometimes the same lack of coordination can cause direct harm, such as if medication is prescribed by different doctors without due consideration of potential interactions.
The integration of healthcare services, from primary care to rehabilitation, putting the patient and their needs at the centre, has become a key strategy to overcome these difficulties. The aim of integrated care is to provide higher quality care, resulting in better health outcomes for the patient, and better patient experience of the care journey, potentially at a lower cost. However, several complicating factors can make integrated care difficult to implement in practice. Inadequate information sharing – often due to limited IT infrastructure and connectivity; inadequate time and human resources to launch new programs; and confusion over ‘who is in charge of the patient’ are some of the challenges faced by leaders trying to integrate care across programs and organisations (Baker et al, 2016).
What can health managers do to navigate the challenges of integrated care? Are strong leadership, health system expertise, and investments sufficient for building collaboration and integration throughout the health system?
Join EHMA 2020, the preeminent European conference on health management, and join our community of practice, where you can debate and identify solutions for the most current topics in health management.
Allvin, T., (2020) Barriers to Integrated Care and How to Overcome Them. [online] Available at: https://www.efpia.eu/news-events/the-efpia-view/blog-articles/241116-barriers-to-integrated-care-and-how-to-overcome-them/ (Accessed: 7 August 2020)
Baker, G.R., Steele Gray, C., Shaw, J., Denis, J.-L., Breton, M. and Carswell, P., (2016). Navigating the Challenges of Building Integrated Care Models: Findings from the iCoach Project. International Journal of Integrated Care, 16(6), p.A375. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.2923
Cohen, S. B., (2014) Differentials in the Concentration of Health Expenditures across Population Subgroups. [online] Available at: https://meps.ahrq.gov/data_files/publications/st448/stat448.shtml (Accessed: 7 August 2020)
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I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.
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Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta
EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.
Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK
Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.
Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary
As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.
Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal
Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.
Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK
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