I will be speaking about building an integrated health system at the 2019 Annual U.S.-China Health Summit on September 26-27 at the Harvard Medical School along with Barry Bloom, Donald Berwick, Erdan Huang, and Yuanli Liu in a session entitled Building a Sustainable & Integrated Health Care System.
Growing evidence globally shows that building an integrated health system with a strong foundation in primary care can result in important payoffs. It can improve population health outcomes, ensure financial protection to citizens, enhance their experience in accessing healthcare, and provide improved value for money to the system.
As I wrote previously in HuffPost in my article Why Integrated Health Systems and Primary Care Are Important:
An integrated healthcare system will require close coordination and integration between primary, secondary and tertiary level providers to ensure access to appropriate levels of care. It will also require the consolidation of financing from different national programs and risk pools to enhance coverage for the population. Through an expanded and diversified funding base and targeting of subsidies for the poor, an integrated health system can ensure greater equity in system. An integrated healthcare system will also require strong frameworks and systems for governance and quality assurance. It will need a robust information technology platform to ensure clear clinical and referral pathways, shared electronic health records and coordinated case management and financing between the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. With these features, an integrated health system can improve access to high quality healthcare for all, and have the capability to continuously track the disease burden, use of care, health outcomes and system level impacts.
In the article I provide examples of integrated models from Brazil, Turkey, and the United States, and the co-authors Taara Chandani and Vrishali Shekhar at ACCESS Health India and I explore the challenges India faces in adopting an integrated model of care. At the U.S.-China Health Summit, I look forward to exploring both the challenges and opportunities China faces in working towards an integrated system of care.