Integrated healthcare is a team mindset for providing high-quality, patient-centered health services that are coordinated and delivered in a cost-effective manner. The integrated healthcare approach involves a personal physician or care team who knows the individual, who coordinates with other providers and specialists when needed, and who can help the patient navigate the complex healthcare system.
With integrated healthcare, you have one primary physician who delivers healthcare services and acts as care coordinator for a team of medical professionals that work together to treat you. When a team of healthcare professionals is fully aware of your health conditions, they can coordinate a healthcare delivery system and develop a full complementary treatment plan for disease management, patient wellness, and overall better health outcomes.
#1 It Connects Physical Health and Mental Health
Integrated healthcare connects your mental and behavioral health with your physical health – It recognizes that everyone has mental and behavioral health needs as well as physical health needs.
The integrated healthcare model looks at the whole person, not just their medical symptoms. It means that your provider can talk with you about how you’re feeling and thinking, what matters to you, and what challenges you may be facing — and how those factors affect your overall well-being.
Who Are the Patient Care Professionals in an Integrated Healthcare System?
An integrated healthcare system’s roster of medical professionals includes all those stakeholders who play a role in your personal medical care. It starts with your medical providers (primary care physician (PCP), nurse practitioners, chiropractors, acupuncturists etc.), but also includes behavioral health professionals (counselors, therapists, social workers) – everyone situation is different and based upon the services that are most beneficial to you.
Your PCP can also coordinate with other mental healthcare providers and arrange referrals with specialists to handle more complex health issues.
#2 Integrated Healthcare Improves Communication Among Doctors
Integrated healthcare improves communication among your doctors so that you get the best quality of care, no matter the care setting. For example, if your doctor is helping you with non-medication pain management, he or she may coordinate referrals for chiropractic care or acupuncture treatment to improve health outcomes. With integrated healthcare, those providers have an open line of communication, and can work together to address your concerns.
Better communication means that all of your caregivers understand your health, from disabilities to chronic conditions, and can adhere to the care plan put in place by your PCP. Best of all, an integrated healthcare system provides these services to patients at a lower cost.
#3 It Ultimately Lowers Costs For Patients
Integrated health systems reduce healthcare costs in several ways. They enable physicians to provide comprehensive advice based on a person’s complete medical history rather than just focusing on a single illness; this saves money by reducing unnecessary lab tests and procedures while increasing efficiency overall.
Sharing of information between professionals is prioritized, reducing the chances of redundant exams and tests. This also helps to speed up the whole diagnostic process, so patients have faster access to the treatment they require.
#4 Integrated Healthcare Delivers Better Patient Access
Integrated healthcare looks at the whole person to understand how each aspect of his or her life influences overall health. It ensures that a patient has access to primary care physicians or providers as well as specialists, when needed.
It adjusts treatments to address all issues affecting a patient’s well-being, including chronic conditions and mental/behavioral illnesses. So, if a patient seeing their PCP needs a referral for mental health counseling, they can get that referral quickly and aren’t left to make the arrangements themselves.
The reverse is also true — if a patient is visiting for counseling, their therapist can make a referral to see a physician within the same organization if that therapist believes it to be necessary. This allows caregivers to take the initiative on patient care knowing that the patient is more likely to take advantage of the service.
One Body, One Integrated Approach
Integrated healthcare is a team approach to provide high-quality, patient-centered health services that are coordinated and delivered in a cost-effective manner. It looks at the whole person to understand how each aspect of his or her life influences overall health.
Integrated healthcare systems are gaining popularity because they are more convenient than the traditional models of care that require patients to switch between various providers who have siloed information and treatment plans. They also help improve patient satisfaction by streamlining communication between providers and ensuring that all healthcare needs are being addressed comprehensively during one visit (or series of visits with one provider).
Meridian HealthCare believes that our integrated approach to healthcare is the best method for delivering the highest quality care to every patient. If you need a new primary care team for yourself and your family, contact Meridian HealthCare today!