Integration of the health care system is a popular concept that its borders are usually not clear. In more developed communities worldwide have hopes to overcome the tensions and contradictions that lead to dysfunction such as inappropriate use of skills, unequal access to certain services within the health care system. According to surveys, it is clear that majority of the population wants a readily available system guaranteeing free and equal access to health care. One organization that has undergone through integration is the Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). This is a multi-institutional health care system that sponsors thirteen Local System hospitals in twelve communities across Illinois and Wisconsin, and includes an integrated physician network. The health care mission in regards to integration means bringing together all the threads from which the mission of the organization and its legacy is woven (Abernethy & Lillis, 2001).
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According to Abernethy and Lillis (2001), the approach of the organization in realizing a true process of integration is to bring together current elements of fragmented health care delivery system with the aim of providing superior value to patients and also promoting efficiency. The HSHS Care Integration initiative is the blue print of the organization for achieving its vision. The integration process focuses in breaking down barriers in for all key players in the health care equation to be able to discharge their services together seamlessly for the benefit of all. It also aims at providing care for all, from preventive care to quality treatment to follow-up care rather than simply treating the ailment.
HSHS has a clear understanding that the today's health care consumer is more likely to receive care outside the traditional setting by applying the techniques of Care Integration in bringing continuity. It also intends to integrate by reducing fragmentation thus leading to a closer relationship between the organization and its patients. Moreover, the hospital also integrated in the area of technology thus providing patients with a single point of access to information and services throughout the HSHS (Cave, 2001).
As part of integration initiative, HSHS is also building partnerships with various providers. Its stratagem is aimed at unification of the key components of health care delivery in Illinois and Wisconsin communities. This will be put in place through the use of technology and relationships that link patients, providers, and health care facilities in provision of seamless care (Mike, 2009).
The Rationale for Care Integration at HSHS
HSHS has been led by Franciscan legacy for more than a century and has established the formalized health care (HSHS) of today. In 2006, the Sisters that oversee the organization recognized that in the future, the Catholic presence of Sisters may not be well-known as it has been in gone years, and therefore sought to create a spiritual basis for the organization in order to successfully continue with the similar presence of the Sisters overseeing it. This decision remains the sole sponsor of HSHS, with greater clarity concerning how operations of the organization should be in future (Cave, 2001).
The organization also intends to secure inputs before moving forward since the long term goals of Care Integration were clear. Formation of the Care Integration Partnership led to a quick recognition of both the potential and the opportunity presented by Care Integration, Prairie Cardiovascular in Springfield, Illinois, became the first group to partner with HSHS and thus playing a major role in the development of foundational Care Integration (Mike, 2009).
Through the integration process, HSHS continues to grow with a network of clinical providers, practitioners and medical schools in Illinois and Wisconsin. The success of integration is determined by right infrastructure being in place and can be assured through maximizing technology. Driving costs out of the system is also a stratagem that has ensured HSHS success. The leaders at HSHS understand that integration stratagem requires a more comprehensive information technology system be integrated throughout the organization. Top leadership and Physician involvement is another essential tool that plays an integral role in the success of the Care Integration journey. Finally it is also important to incentivize Integration with the aim of strengthening partnership and bring out the sense of shared commitment (Mike, 2009).
In conclusion, Care Integration has enabled HSHS to forge a new relationship with its providers and drive volume that is sustainable for the future generations. The Integration also helps in removal of barriers that physicians encounter within the organization as the discharge their duties. All the above can only be successful through care integration.
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