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Integrated care: learning from East London

Bussu, Sonia (2018) Integrated care: learning from East London. British Journal of General Practice, 68 (suppl). ISSN 0960-1643

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Abstract

Background Despite a growing body of literature on integrated, there remains a relatively small evidence base to suggest which elements of integrated care are most effective and how to implement them successfully. This might also be due to the fact that policy thinking around integrated care is struggling to translate into organisation change at the point of delivery. Better understanding of patterns of collaborations and integrated pathways is crucial to understand frontline staff’s OD needs and provide adequate support. Aim This paper focuses on the frontline level to assess progress towards integrated care in East London. Method We use admission avoidance (Rapid Response service) and discharge services (Discharge to Assess) as a lens to examine how frontline staff from secondary care, community health services and social service work together to deliver more integrated care. The study uses the Researcher in Residence (RiR), where the researcher is embedded in the in the organisations she is evaluating, as a key member of the delivery team. Results Initial findings suggest that while work on integrated care has enabled some level of collaborative working at strategic levels in partner organisations, on the frontline professionals are grappling with issues such as professional identity, professional boundaries, mutual trust and accountability, as new services and roles struggle to be fully embedded within the local health system. Conclusion The paper sheds light on to the complexity on integrated care at the point of delivery. Better understanding of integrated care pathways is crucial to evidence patterns of collaboration across organisations; assess how these new roles and teams are embedding themselves within the local health economy; identify organisation development needs; and provide adequate support to frontline staff.

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