Health Librarian Suzanne Lewis shares her perspective, highlights and learnings from ISSIC 2018

Nine international faculty members, 23 participants from 16 countries, 16 World Cup matches and five days of glorious summer sunshine in Oxford. This was the recipe for the 2018 International Summer School on Integrated Care held at Wolfson College, Oxford, UK in June 2018.

This five-day intensive workshop included presentations by the faculty on aspects of integrated care including building workforce competencies, integrating health and social care, involving patients and caregivers, financing, program evaluation, care coordination, and managing transformational change. One day was devoted to a site visit, and the program also contained a group work component in which we analysed a case study and presented key findings back to the large group.

The social program included a welcome dinner at the Cherwell Boathouse Restaurant, a walking tour of Oxford, and two dinners at Wolfson College. These events, plus ample breaks during the day, allowed plenty of networking time.

My role is Library Services Manager at the Central Coast Local Heath District, New South Wales, Australia, so why was a health librarian attending a summer school on integrated care? For the last 18 months I have been leading a project to develop a validated search filter for locating integrated care literature in PubMed. The search filter and associated products such as ‘one-click’ topic searches are now available via the IFIC website under the name Integrated Care Search. I am interested in knowledge production and knowledge management in integrated care and the Summer School provided me with the opportunity to increase my knowledge of both the theory and practice of integrated care.

One valuable outcome for me was the insight I gained into the wide range of perspectives of the participants. As Dr Nick Goodwin stressed in the opening session of the workshop, integrated care is highly contextual. Its interpretation is dependent on the professional background and perspectives of practitioners and its practical application is driven by local conditions. These factors also drive the way individuals locate and access the integrated care literature.

A particular highlight of the program for me was Anne Wojtak’s presentation on involving patients and caregivers in policy and practice to achieve truly person-centred care. Anne is a lecturer at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, and worked for many years in the community care sector. Her presentation challenged us all to think about whether consumer engagement in our own workplaces is true engagement, with patients and carers involved in co-design of services, or just lip service.

ISSIC2018 was an amazing learning and networking opportunity. There is great benefit to participating in an intensive learning experience such as the Summer School, taking time out of our busy schedules to prioritise learning. Congratulations to Dr Viktoria Stein, ISSIC Director, for delivering an excellent program. I highly recommend the International Summer School on Integrated Care to anyone working in the health, social care, education and related sectors.

Suzanne Lewis is Library Services Manager at the Central Coast Local Heath District, New South Wales, Australia and Project lead for Integrated Care Search (ICS)