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IFIC is supporting the WHO summer school

IFIC is supporting the WHO summer school

WHO summer school on Integrated Care
Integrated care: moving beyond the rhetoric

Responding to the burden of chronic disease presents challenges for all health systems. In European Union countries, between one‐fifth to over 40% of adults report one or more long‐standing health problem. The complexity of needs arising from chronic conditions, and in particular from multiple health problems, in combination with increasing frailty at old age, require the development of delivery systems that bring together a range of professionals and skills from both the cure (health care) and care (long‐term and social care) sectors to meet those needs. Yet, service delivery has developed in ways that have tended to fragment care, both within and between sectors.

There is a persuasive argument that better integration of services along the care continuum will overcome fragmentation and ultimately lead to better outcomes. However, the notion of ‘integrated care’ has been tainted by a long debate about the meaning and interpretation of the concept, risking for it to become an end rather than a means to achieve people‐centred care. At the same time, many countries have begun developing innovative care models that seek to bridge the boundaries between professions, providers and institutions and so provide appropriate support to patients with long‐ standing health problems. Countries’ experiences provide a rich source of data and insights that can help inform others and move beyond the rhetoric.


The six day course includes formal teaching but has at its core the experiences of participants in practice. A highly participative approach emphasizes group work that cuts across themes, participant presentations, round tables and panel discussions. It mobilizes the latest evidence and a multidisciplinary team of experts with a track record in the analysis, implementation and evaluation in integrated care. Course participants will also be able to share perspectives with and
gain insights from key international organizations including the World Health Organization, the European Commission and relevant professional and governmental organizations and to engage in political dialogue with senior policy makers. They will be part of the Summer School tradition, which fosters evidence‐based policy‐making and encourages European health policy debate by raising key issues, sharing learning and building lasting networks.

The six-day course will be organized into three modules:


If integrated care is the answer: what is the question? Analysing the challenge

  • Why do we care?– policy needs and expectations
  • What is ‘integrated care’ and what problems is it intended to solve (is there a common understanding)?– assessing concepts and applications
  • Experimenting with integrated care?– an exploration of countries’ experiences
  • What we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to know– assessing the evidence base and its application in real-world settings


Developing and implementing integrated care

  • Getting started– a developmental model for integrated care
  • Will it ‘work’?– conceptual frameworks and planning templates
  • A route map for implementation– assessing the prerequisites for integrating care
  • What about the service user?– innovative approaches to involving patients and their carers in designing new models of care


Moving beyond the rhetoric: getting the system ready for integrated care

  • Getting the incentives right– paying for integrated care
  • Delivering integrated care– developing the workforce
  • Top down or bottom up?– designing an enabling regulatory framework for integrating care
  • The added value of EU and WHO action– supporting Member States

The programme is available here