The future of integrated services delivery in healthcare

Four components that support the delivery of integrated health services and the importance of underlying values in decision making.

This challenging Covid-19 pandemic period, stresses the need for rethinking the future of health care services. We knew and learned again, that collaboration and aligning and integrating services is key. Innovations in technology continue to influence how healthcare is delivered and is encouraging more people to take control of their healthcare choices. As knowledge in this area grows and countries share their progress, it is important to recognise what is most important in organising a successful integrated health services system that is fit for the future.

Vilans CEO, Prof. Dr. Mirella Minkman has developed a framework defining the four main components that support integrated services delivery. In a video presentation organised by WHO and the Integrated Care for People Platform, she highlights what she considers to be the four most important pillars necessary for the future of the sector. She also references research done by Vilans Researcher, Nick Zonneveld, who examines the role of underlying values in influencing people’s decision-making behaviour.

Four main components

1. People: The starting point should be the total needs of the people involved and what they see as important, not only their health needs or what is important for service delivery.

2. Organising: It is important to integrate teams around the needs of people in order to prevent fragmented situations.

3. Scale: Technology has reduced traditional limitations such as distance and physical availability so it is important to rethink scale. E.g. local vs. regional vs (inter) national.

4. Governance: Different types of collaborations and partnerships require different approaches to governance.

View the video presentation

In addition to the four main components that support integrated service delivery in different countries, Dr. Minkman notes that it is necessary to take into account how decisions are made and what underlying values people use to assess their choices. “Underlying values drive behaviour, that is, if someone thinks efficiency is an important value, that can be visible in their decisions or actions or behaviour.”

In this area, she refers to the work of Vilans Researcher, Nick Zonneveld, which will soon be published in collaboration with WHO. The study identifies 18 underlying values and assesses them in different contexts and perspectives. Half of the underlying values identified relate to issues concerning people, while the other half relates to governance and organisation.

The framework also identifies value hierarchies, which illustrate how underlying values are prioritised among different stakeholder groups and provide insight into why certain groups take certain decisions. 

Contact for this project: