The Impact of Integrated Health Systems on Patient Care

Integrated healthcare is the model that allows you to quickly locate, schedule, and manage a broader range of medical services all in one place and management system. This model can help you save money on office visits, prescriptions, and other medical expenses.

Consolidation proponents have argued that integrated systems can offer better care at lower costs than independent hospitals and physician practices. But new research suggests this is different.

Improved Patient Satisfaction

Achieving high patient satisfaction scores is a top priority for many healthcare organizations, as it can positively impact revenue and reputation. Patients who feel satisfied with their care are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans, which can lead to better health outcomes.

Integrated healthcare systems like Integrated Health Denver bring together a variety of health specialists to provide comprehensive care for their patients. This team can include physicians, nurses, social workers, therapists, and even behavioral scientists. This collaboration allows them to identify and treat the root cause of a disease rather than simply treating symptoms.

However, it’s important to note that standardized tools cannot measure integration implementation and impact at the system and provider levels. Nevertheless, the ten articles featured in this special issue offer new insights that can help improve the effectiveness of integrated systems.

Enhanced Care Coordination

As multiple healthcare professionals increasingly treat patients, ensuring that all providers are on the same page regarding treatment becomes critical. To create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the patient’s needs, integrated health systems can help by encouraging interprofessional collaboration among healthcare providers (including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, and allied health professionals).

Enhanced care coordination can also prevent unnecessary repeat tests and other medical errors by ensuring that all healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s treatment have access to the same information. This can improve patient safety, especially for patients with complex health conditions who may have overlapping treatments.

There is still a lot of work to do regarding integrating healthcare. The authors of this article suggest that more research is needed on integration models and metrics to help decision-makers better understand how to effectively integrate health systems within different contexts and for desired outcomes.

Reduced Costs

A key concern of many decision-makers is the sustainability of healthcare systems. Integrated care can provide opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness while maintaining accessibility and healthcare quality.

While the benefits of integration are many, empirical research on outcomes and impacts is sparse. A recent article by Dartmouth researchers featured in a special issue of the journal Health Services Research reported on new investigations into the role and impact of integrated systems.

The study reviewed peer-reviewed health sciences and business literature and targeted grey literature sources. The research focused on the definitions, models, and outcomes of integration. In addition, it aimed to identify standardized tools to measure integration implementation and development at the system, program, and provider levels over time. This need for more evidence-based information is problematic as high expectations are attached to integrated healthcare systems.

Better Health Information Management

All your medical records are stored in one place in integrated healthcare systems. This allows your care team to access all the data they need to make informed decisions about your treatment. As a result, they can provide you with the best possible treatment plan.

Patients treated in an integrated system also report high satisfaction levels. This is because the system gives them more options and makes them feel they are in control of their care.

Integrating healthcare systems can improve patient outcomes and provide stronger accountability for resource allocation. However, more robust empirical evidence needs to be on the effectiveness and benefits of integrated health systems. There is also a need for standardized tools to measure implementation and impact at the system/program/provider level. This will require collaboration between multiple stakeholders, including research agencies. Ultimately, the future of integrated healthcare is uncertain. However, the emergence of these systems could benefit patients and healthcare providers alike.