What Is Integrated Care?

Reviewed Jun 2, 2017

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Summary

  • Combines all areas of health care
  • Treats individual as a whole person
  • Provides better care at reduced costs

For a number of reasons, a person with mental illness often has a much shorter lifespan than others. One reason is other risk factors involved such as eating a poor diet, smoking, or using drugs. Mental illness may also make it harder to take care of physical health issues and connect for basic health care. Often, diseases are contracted that could have been avoided, and sometimes go untreated for a long time. Mental and physical health are more joined than we often realize. Being sick can make you feel sad or upset. When you are sad or upset, you may not take good care of yourself, which can make you physically worse.

Integrated care involves thinking about and treating the whole person. It’s about combined treatment for all areas of health care which includes physical health, mental health and drug use, and social support services. This is a better way of helping people who have, or may develop, many health care needs. Having your providers sharing information helps make your care better, and when they are located in the same place, that can even make it easier.

Some benefits of integrated care:

  • A person’s mind, body, and spirit are being treated
  • Getting all of your health care in one place so you don’t have to go all over for appointments
  • Doctors with different specialties all work together
  • Better access to health records
  • Easier tracking of pills
  • Less testing may be needed
  • Fewer forms to fill out
  • Better dialogue and follow-up care
  • Less chance of errors in treatment
  • Reduced visits
  • Lower costs

Types of integrated care

Integrated care can take place in a primary care office, a mental health center, or anywhere that physical health and mental health are considered together. The degree of combined care can vary greatly. There may be either one or two front doors and reception areas. Databases may be separate or shared. Doctors may meet with each other often or rarely at all.

The ideal model of integration would offer full health care treatment in one setting. A shared data system would be used for all appointments, billing, record keeping, and communication between all your providers. People would feel like all their health concerns were being addressed by one team. This goal could be reached through a health home.

Health homes

A health home is not an actual home or building. It is a system used to better take charge of a person’s long-term health care issues. A health home provider is put in charge of all of a person’s health needs. This may include setting up and managing treatment from many sources. Also, in a health home, you are part of the team, too. Your goals, preferences, and decisions are important. When you are involved in your own care with a team of providers who work closely together, the result should be better service and improved care.

Health home services/standards

  • A person's complete care plan
  • Person-, family-, and community-centered
  • Include emphasis on prevention as well as long-term care strategy
  • Include mental health and substance use disorder treatment
  • Make use of electronic health data
  • Supply cost-effective, quality care

Integrated care is not a new idea. The push for health care reform has brought it to the forefront. Providing better person-centered care at reduced costs has now become a major focus. There is a renewed effort to combine all forms of health care. This is good news to those with many health issues.

The Affordable Care Act will help make sure that these goals are met. States will be given grants and other incentives to bring about these changes. Expect health homes and integrated care to become a greater part of health care’s future.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions: www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/what-is-integrated-care; www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/esolutions-newsletter/december-2012-esolutions-health-homes; www.integration.samhsa.gov/integrated-care-models/CIHS_Framework_Final_charts.pdf; www.integration.samhsa.gov/integrated-care-models/A_Standard_Framework_for_Levels_of_Integrated_Healthcare.pdf; SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Reviewed by Nancy Norman, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Integration, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Combines all areas of health care
  • Treats individual as a whole person
  • Provides better care at reduced costs

For a number of reasons, a person with mental illness often has a much shorter lifespan than others. One reason is other risk factors involved such as eating a poor diet, smoking, or using drugs. Mental illness may also make it harder to take care of physical health issues and connect for basic health care. Often, diseases are contracted that could have been avoided, and sometimes go untreated for a long time. Mental and physical health are more joined than we often realize. Being sick can make you feel sad or upset. When you are sad or upset, you may not take good care of yourself, which can make you physically worse.

Integrated care involves thinking about and treating the whole person. It’s about combined treatment for all areas of health care which includes physical health, mental health and drug use, and social support services. This is a better way of helping people who have, or may develop, many health care needs. Having your providers sharing information helps make your care better, and when they are located in the same place, that can even make it easier.

Some benefits of integrated care:

  • A person’s mind, body, and spirit are being treated
  • Getting all of your health care in one place so you don’t have to go all over for appointments
  • Doctors with different specialties all work together
  • Better access to health records
  • Easier tracking of pills
  • Less testing may be needed
  • Fewer forms to fill out
  • Better dialogue and follow-up care
  • Less chance of errors in treatment
  • Reduced visits
  • Lower costs

Types of integrated care

Integrated care can take place in a primary care office, a mental health center, or anywhere that physical health and mental health are considered together. The degree of combined care can vary greatly. There may be either one or two front doors and reception areas. Databases may be separate or shared. Doctors may meet with each other often or rarely at all.

The ideal model of integration would offer full health care treatment in one setting. A shared data system would be used for all appointments, billing, record keeping, and communication between all your providers. People would feel like all their health concerns were being addressed by one team. This goal could be reached through a health home.

Health homes

A health home is not an actual home or building. It is a system used to better take charge of a person’s long-term health care issues. A health home provider is put in charge of all of a person’s health needs. This may include setting up and managing treatment from many sources. Also, in a health home, you are part of the team, too. Your goals, preferences, and decisions are important. When you are involved in your own care with a team of providers who work closely together, the result should be better service and improved care.

Health home services/standards

  • A person's complete care plan
  • Person-, family-, and community-centered
  • Include emphasis on prevention as well as long-term care strategy
  • Include mental health and substance use disorder treatment
  • Make use of electronic health data
  • Supply cost-effective, quality care

Integrated care is not a new idea. The push for health care reform has brought it to the forefront. Providing better person-centered care at reduced costs has now become a major focus. There is a renewed effort to combine all forms of health care. This is good news to those with many health issues.

The Affordable Care Act will help make sure that these goals are met. States will be given grants and other incentives to bring about these changes. Expect health homes and integrated care to become a greater part of health care’s future.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions: www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/what-is-integrated-care; www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/esolutions-newsletter/december-2012-esolutions-health-homes; www.integration.samhsa.gov/integrated-care-models/CIHS_Framework_Final_charts.pdf; www.integration.samhsa.gov/integrated-care-models/A_Standard_Framework_for_Levels_of_Integrated_Healthcare.pdf; SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Reviewed by Nancy Norman, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Integration, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Combines all areas of health care
  • Treats individual as a whole person
  • Provides better care at reduced costs

For a number of reasons, a person with mental illness often has a much shorter lifespan than others. One reason is other risk factors involved such as eating a poor diet, smoking, or using drugs. Mental illness may also make it harder to take care of physical health issues and connect for basic health care. Often, diseases are contracted that could have been avoided, and sometimes go untreated for a long time. Mental and physical health are more joined than we often realize. Being sick can make you feel sad or upset. When you are sad or upset, you may not take good care of yourself, which can make you physically worse.

Integrated care involves thinking about and treating the whole person. It’s about combined treatment for all areas of health care which includes physical health, mental health and drug use, and social support services. This is a better way of helping people who have, or may develop, many health care needs. Having your providers sharing information helps make your care better, and when they are located in the same place, that can even make it easier.

Some benefits of integrated care:

  • A person’s mind, body, and spirit are being treated
  • Getting all of your health care in one place so you don’t have to go all over for appointments
  • Doctors with different specialties all work together
  • Better access to health records
  • Easier tracking of pills
  • Less testing may be needed
  • Fewer forms to fill out
  • Better dialogue and follow-up care
  • Less chance of errors in treatment
  • Reduced visits
  • Lower costs

Types of integrated care

Integrated care can take place in a primary care office, a mental health center, or anywhere that physical health and mental health are considered together. The degree of combined care can vary greatly. There may be either one or two front doors and reception areas. Databases may be separate or shared. Doctors may meet with each other often or rarely at all.

The ideal model of integration would offer full health care treatment in one setting. A shared data system would be used for all appointments, billing, record keeping, and communication between all your providers. People would feel like all their health concerns were being addressed by one team. This goal could be reached through a health home.

Health homes

A health home is not an actual home or building. It is a system used to better take charge of a person’s long-term health care issues. A health home provider is put in charge of all of a person’s health needs. This may include setting up and managing treatment from many sources. Also, in a health home, you are part of the team, too. Your goals, preferences, and decisions are important. When you are involved in your own care with a team of providers who work closely together, the result should be better service and improved care.

Health home services/standards

  • A person's complete care plan
  • Person-, family-, and community-centered
  • Include emphasis on prevention as well as long-term care strategy
  • Include mental health and substance use disorder treatment
  • Make use of electronic health data
  • Supply cost-effective, quality care

Integrated care is not a new idea. The push for health care reform has brought it to the forefront. Providing better person-centered care at reduced costs has now become a major focus. There is a renewed effort to combine all forms of health care. This is good news to those with many health issues.

The Affordable Care Act will help make sure that these goals are met. States will be given grants and other incentives to bring about these changes. Expect health homes and integrated care to become a greater part of health care’s future.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions: www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/what-is-integrated-care; www.integration.samhsa.gov/about-us/esolutions-newsletter/december-2012-esolutions-health-homes; www.integration.samhsa.gov/integrated-care-models/CIHS_Framework_Final_charts.pdf; www.integration.samhsa.gov/integrated-care-models/A_Standard_Framework_for_Levels_of_Integrated_Healthcare.pdf; SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Reviewed by Nancy Norman, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Integration, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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