The International Foundation for Integrated Care sees itself supporting a global movement for change towards more integrated care systems that help to significantly improve quality of health and promote wellbeing to people and communities. My experience of the 1st Asia-Pacific Conference on Integrated Care was characterised by just how more appreciative, committed and open people are to thinking differently about health and care. It was specifically heartening to see how APIC1 continued a trend at our conferences to engage users and carers through the highly active involvement of Health Consumers Queensland. The focus of the conference on children and youth services, led by our co-hosts at Children’s Health Queensland, was another step forward for IFIC in moving beyond the ‘traditional’ (yet important) focus on chronic care and older people to recognise the wide range of vulnerable populations in need of a better, more co-ordinated, more accessible, and fundamentally more equitable health and care system.
Whilst there is still further groundwork to be done, APIC1 also made it is clear to me that IFIC’s role must now progress beyond being the advocate for the logic and power of integrated care as a system reform lever. IFIC must now help to grow the evidence, share the knowledge, and actively support activities in ‘how to’ adopt integrated care effectively in policy and practice. IFIC has already seen a significant growth in demand for new education and training activities that enable individuals and organisations prepare the groundwork for integrated care. There has also been recognition that more needs to be done to evaluate programs and support adoption of effective practices over time. This is why we have established IFIC Australia (and soon its counterpart in New Zealand) as a means to develop projects, educational activities and material of mutual benefit in keeping with IFIC’s mission. For further information, please contacts us at IFICAustralia@integratedcarefoundation.org
Dr Nick Goodwin
International Foundation of Integrated Care (IFIC)