Integrated healthcare is a model of medical care that is gaining rapid traction, both in the United States and around the world. Organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have noted that integrated health care results in improved overall health outcomes, fewer unnecessary hospitalizations, and improved access to services.
What Is Integrated Healthcare?
Simply put, integrated healthcare is a model that prioritizes teamwork in healthcare. In a non-integrated model, patient care is typically spread out amongst various professionals, such as primary care doctors, medical specialists, mental health professionals, and physical and/or occupational therapists. Often, the channels of communication between these different professionals are fragmented or nonexistent. As a result, patient care suffers because doctors and other healthcare professionals aren’t working collaboratively on the same healthcare plan.
Under an integrated healthcare model, all of the different aspects of patient care are combined. Healthcare professionals communicate with and consult one another, resulting in a holistic approach to patient care in which less information is lost in translation.
Who Needs Integrated Healthcare?
Integrated healthcare benefits everyone. However, the groups who have the most to gain from an integrated healthcare approach include people with chronic or complex health conditions (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer). Integrated healthcare also seeks to combine behavioral health services, such as mental health and substance abuse treatment, together with illness diagnosis and treatment.
For example: under an integrated healthcare model, a cancer patient might receive treatment from a team of professionals who collaborated in creating a holistic treatment plan. This team might include the patient’s surgeon, oncologist, primary care physician, therapist, pain management specialist, and nutritionist.
Why Is Integrated Healthcare Important?
Integrated healthcare prioritizes patient experience, and seeks to provide continuous, connected care, rather than addressing each need individually. In addition to providing an overall better patient experience, an integrated healthcare approach avoids gaps or conflicts in patient’s care (such as might happen when two doctors separately prescribe medications that interact poorly with one another).
RADIAS Health provides patient-centered integrated healthcare services to people suffering from mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Our services encompass primary care and behavioral health services delivered by compassionate, skilled health care and support staff. In addition, our care includes supplementary services such as case management, supportive housing, homeless services, residential services, outpatient DBT treatment, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our mission, contact us today or consider donating!