Patient perceptions of integrated care: confused by the term, clear on the concept.

  • Walker K
  • Labat A
  • Choi J
 et al. 
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PURPOSE: Health care reform in the US has introduced terms such as 'the patient-centered medical home' and 'integrated care' that are often unclear and unfamiliar to patients. This study explored patient experiences with the functional domains of integrated care.

THEORY AND METHODS: Patients first wrote their definitions of integrated care and then participated in focus group discussions about their experiences with the health care system. Transcripts were analyzed for thematic content.

RESULTS: Forty-four patients participated in one of seven focus groups in San Francisco, CA in English and Spanish. Many patients were not clear about the meaning of the term integrated care. However, patients described experiences largely reflected in an existing conceptual model of integrated care and the importance of coordination within and across teams and with community resources, continuity and sharing of information, and patient engagement. Patients with high medical needs described the ubiquitous challenges they faced in experiencing coordinated care.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients may not understand the term integrated care but are relatively clear on what the concept of integrated care entails and support its successful implementation. Patients and their families are at the center of integrated care, and health systems need to support and empower them to successfully navigate the medical neighborhood.

Author-supplied keywords

  • framework
  • in a peer reviewed
  • integrated care
  • journal of integrated care
  • patient centered experiences
  • section of the international
  • this article is published

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  • Kara Odom Walker

  • Alanna Labat

  • Judy Choi

  • Julie Schmittdiel

  • Anita L Stewart

  • Kevin Grumbach

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