Integrating health and social care services improves some patient outcomes

Citation: Baxter S, Johnson M, Chambers D, et al. The effects of integrated care: a systematic review of UK and international evidence. BMC Health Services Research 2018; 18(1): 350

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a great strain on health and social care services. Existing research on integrating health and social care may provide evidence to ease this.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research into the effects of introducing models of integration or co-ordination in healthcare or health and social care settings in countries that were a member of the Organisation for Economic Collaboration and Development, with a focus on reaching conclusions relevant to the UK national health system. They restricted their search to articles published in English since 2006 and did their most recent search in May 2017. They included 43 systematic reviews, 54 studies from the UK, 49 high quality studies from outside the UK with a comparator group, and 21 low quality non-UK studies without a comparator group.

What was found: Integrated care appears to enhance patient satisfaction, increase perceived quality of care and increase patient access to health and social care services.

In the UK, integrated care was also found to reduce patient waiting time and outpatient appointments and increase the likelihood that a patient’s wishes for their end of life are met.

What’s uncertain: The impact of integrated care on some outcomes, including service costs and numbers of patients using community and hospital services, is uncertain.

 

Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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