For many years, the development of health policies in Brazil was limited by a division between primary, secondary and tertiary care. This division is largely historical and reflects old divisions in medicine, however, it does not favor the use of the system focused on users’ needs.
Integration has great potential to redesign the service around the needs of users.
The idea of integrated health services is not new. It was the basis for the construction of primary health care in the 1980s.
Partnerships between health service delivery units to better coordinate services, spend more on keeping people healthy and out of the hospital, and agree on shared health priorities for the population.
Integration is a necessary imperative to face contemporary and future health challenges. The integrated provision of assistance improves the performance of health systems, improving the quality of care and user satisfaction. Integration is achieved by a series of coordinated activities among health professionals that aim to achieve continuity of care to meet the complex needs of users.
The system is transformed from multiple separate entities into a set of services working together. This reduces duplication of services, provides better access to primary care and improves the quality of the service provided.
Although integration is a desirable objective, the evidence suggests that there are several pitfalls that must be avoided if integrated care is to be successfully created.
The literature does not present a single model for successful integration, nor is there a firm empirical basis for specific integration strategies and processes. What exist are principles that define key areas for the restructuring of the system and allow organizational flexibility and adaptation to the context.
These principles are part of the International Accreditation of Integrated Networks model – Qmentum.