IFIC, two decades bringing about transformational change for people and their health and wellbeing

IFIC, two decades bringing about transformational change for people and their health and wellbeing.

The 19th International Conference on Integrated Care (ICIC) bears the imprint of two decades of transformational change in health and social care provision. The evolution of care service delivery has gravitated from supply to demand. This is reflected in the evolution of the key topics discussed in ICIC conferences and is echoed in the cultural changes that have taken place behind the scenes. This latest conference reflects this sea change: its driving message was that of engaging and empowering people and communities to become equal partners in care. In the conference people were able to discuss and share knowledge, not merely from the theoretical perspective but also providing evidence of implementation and evaluation of person and population centred care. Not many conferences bring together topics such as the role of carers and pharmacy offices in the community, inviting such a wide range of professionals from a large number of sectors to the debate.

The seven thematic areas enabled the delegates to design their own journeys. Participants started arriving early in the morning and when sessions began the rooms were brim-full of lively participants in search of new knowledge on topics such as: codesign and coproduction in care; social design; innovative strategies to activate the community; managing beliefs, expectations and priorities; reassessing health promotion, disease prevention and community health, and finally, models of care for people. They were also eager to learn more on the latest initiatives to improve care of vulnerable populations and populations at risk and co-participating in defining measures and outcomes that matter to people or learning about the impact of technology-enabled care. The bulk of the information was shared in the plenary sessions, interactive workshops, oral presentations, the innovation zone experiences and debates, and the poster sessions, all of which will widen the knowledge tree of IFIC and are an extremely useful resource for the integrated care community, policy makers, managers, researchers, patients and professionals.
Almost two decades ago, visionaries and pioneers such as Guss Schirvers and thorough and passionate researchers such as Nick Goodwin, laid the foundations of Integrated Care and the current ‘Movement for Change’. Their achievement resulted in a network of more than 20,000 participants around the world, and at present the movement is heading towards a new phase. Integrated care is finally in the policy makers’ agendas, but the aspiration is to see the adoption and implementation of integrated care where people and communities play a determinant role in the co-production of integrated care to support and respond to their needs and expectations. The context where integrated care is implemented is relevant, one suit does not fit all; and this is the reason for the establishment of IFIC Hubs and Collaborative Centres around the world, which capture the specificities of each jurisdiction. However, what will consolidate the ‘Movement for Change’ is the young researchers in integrated care. From my perspective, as a former practitioner and policy maker, this is the way forward. I am privileged and very excited to have joined the IFIC team. We have been marked by the ethos of the two IFIC co-founders and we, the network, led by the IFIC team and the integrated care community, take the baton and collectively we assume the lead in this already unstoppable movement. Thanks, Guss and Nick.

Dr Dedeu is the Director of Programmes of the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC) based in Oxford, UK and he is the former Director the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia, Ministry of Health of the government of Catalonia.