Part One: Reflections on the IFIC Online Certificate course
As a cohort, the participants on the course came from diverse professional backgrounds, with many different continents, health systems and ethnicities represented. The voices which were most prominent were those closer to home from Ireland and Scotland which is seen as leading on Integrated Care (IC). IC as a concept is complex but put simply is about improving health outcomes by fixing the fragmentation in our Health and Social Care systems, which is in large part due to different professions working in silos, outdated data/communication systems, clunky funding arrangements and traditional hierarchical structures of Governance.
There were interesting reflections from both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with contributors from the Basque country and speakers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand who work in regions with large indigenous populations which means their health systems need to be inclusive of different beliefs systems and methodologies.
What came across strongly over the weeks, was that cultural differences were not an impediment to the development of Integrated Care, as IC draws more from community development, asset and alliance-based approaches which support the view that health and social care work better when they are decentralised, and that care should be person-centred not system-centred.
At times there was so much diversity in the breakout rooms it felt that there was not so much common ground in terms of experience, but with respect to the overall vision and values such as compassionate leadership, developing trust relationships, co-productive partnerships and crucially putting the person at the centre of decision making, there was significant agreement. The trick will be in evolving systems and a common language that can facilitate this global movement.