My vision on health care (and health) can be divided into three categories:
1. To keep people away from health care: this concerns primary prevention. Issues as healthy living, sports, screening programs, but also welfare and housing, and themes such as loneliness are important in this matter.
2.If people are in care: integration (coordination) of care. What is the best care for which patient, by whom and where deliverd (most efficient place)?
3.Not treating people anymore: remove people from care (useful care). Discuss the possiblity of not treating a patient anymore. Prevent unnecessary medical interventions. This also falls under (1) keep people away from health care.
With respect to integration of care (2), we first have to determine which kind of care it concerns in order to make a distinction in: chronic care, routine care (complex and less complex), acute care, palliative care, top clinical care, top referral care and preventive care. These different types of care require other performance indicators, task delegation, task differentiation, protocols, location where care can be delivered, etc. In these types of care professionals play different roles, such as care provider (handler), referrer/gatekeeper and director/regisseur.
Then it is important to see what kind of care can best be given by which professional at wich location. We must keep as far as possible from the "domain thinking" (personal interest), and name the added value of the various professionals. Professionals are not competeters, but are complementary to each other. On content we’ll certainly agree. If one another can be linked to an appropriate financing, that would be great. Care is becoming more specialistic, which is logical viewing the developments in medical technology. This does not mean that care around the patient must be given in a fragmented way. The role of the GP as director of care is retained even if the patient needs to be in treatment by a specialist GP or specialist-colleague for specific care. I believe that the integration of care can be realized by determining which care is the best care, followed by the question who is going to provide which kind of care, so that the care is organized around the patient, with less discomfort of fragmentation of care.
I would like to explore this challenge regional in the Netherlands and start limited with a target group and develop and improve it by exploring, monitoring, adapting, improving and especially continuing. If different regions start similar initiatives, with adjustments to regional situations, we can learn from each other and take steps to achieve our common goal: the best health care (and health) for all. To reach this we have to work together and learn from each other thoughts, ideas and experiences.
Yvonne van Kemenade is Managing Director of Zorggroep Eerste Lijn B.V. (ZEL) in the Netherlands.