In May, the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) launched “Realising the true value of integrated care: Beyond COVID-19”, a thought leadership report which states that Covid19 presents an opportunity to reset our fragmented health and care systems so that they are integrated, driven by people and communities and resilient in the face of future systemic shocks.
COVID-19 is changing what we value as a society – we are redefining the meaning of ‘community’, realising that we cannot get through difficult times on our own. We are discovering the importance of undervalued care work. We are now painfully aware of how the social, economic and health inequities, entrenched in the past decades through austerity measures, exacerbate and are exacerbated by the pandemic.
Seizing the opportunity to transform how we think about and design our systems will lead to improving population health and wellbeing and ensure we are better equipped to respond to future crises. This requires unprecedented levels of collective action. It requires tackling the social determinants of health and reducing health inequalities. It requires shifting our focus from hospital-centric, disease-specific approaches to assuming accountability towards a territorially defined population, taking as a start point people’s and communities’ strengths.
IFIC proposes nine building blocks to help steer health and care system leaders towards a radically different future where we as one team, one system can achieve a stronger and more resilient society. In shifting sands, Integrated Care provides solid foundations.
The current crisis represents an opportunity to do things better and speed up integration of our health and care systems so that they are more resilient in the future. This report, which brought together many global perspectives from across IFIC’s network, was written and collated by Leo Lewis, Director for Research and Development and Nieves Ehrenberg and describes the issues with and opportunities for strengthening the enablers of integration.