What is integrated care?

Integrated care is a broad term that describes how health and social care delivery can be linked and/or coordinated to address issues such as fragmentation and miscommunication, among others.

Though there are different approaches to integrated care, they all part from common concerns: from preserving the quality of life of patients to securing access to quality care in the face of rising healthcare costs.

These challenges are happening side-by-side positive developments, including technological advancements and a growing array of medical and nursing specialties.

In this landscape, an integrated care approach helps ease communication between different care providers (physicians, specialists, carers, etc.) and with patients, and it helps align policies and initiatives with day-to-day health and social care delivery. All this is especially important considering that an increasing life expectancy corresponds with a rise in chronic – and often co-occurring (multi-morbidity) – illnesses.

Applying integrated care models

The World Health Organization (2016), has identified different settings where such models are often applied:

  • across health interventions (preventive and curative);
  • between the health and social sectors;
  • in different clinical settings (hospitals, residential treatment centres, day care, urgent care, etc.), as well as non-clinical settings (administrative, etc.); and
  • at policy and management levels.

The TeNDER integrated care ecosystem will operate across a number of these areas, tailoring its approach to manage issues related to multi-morbidity in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, mainly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Additional sources on integrated care

If you wish to learn more about the general concept of integrated care and its various applications in Europe, here are some external resources you can explore:

World Health Organization (2016). “Integrated Care Models: An overview,” Health Services Delivery Programme – Division of Health Systems and Public Health.

Mariana Dates, et al (2018), “Health system performance assessment – Integrated Care Assessment (2157303 HSPA),” European Commission.

Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment (2017). “Tools and methodologies to assess integrated care in Europe,” European Commission.

Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee, et al (2008). Caring for people with chronic conditions: A health system perspective. New York, Berkshire: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill.

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