Integrated care is being promoted as the way to better cope with the multitude of chronic conditions by adopting a population-based approach. In 2015, the various authorities in Belgium launched a joint plan for people with a chronic disease 'Integrated Care for Better Health' to make this a reality. Twelve pilot projects integrated care were launched in 2018. Many other policy initiatives, at federal and regional level, play into this overall transition towards integrated care. Now, the federal government requested an assessment of how far Belgium has come in this process, as assessed by the various stakeholders. This project, coordinated by the Belgian Healthcare Knowledge Centre (KCE), has the ambition to assess the current situation and to formulate new policy recommendations to move integrated care in Belgium to the next level.
shiftN was the principal contractor for the project. We worked in close partnership with our francophone colleagues from the Institute of Health and Society at UCLouvain and from the Platform for Continuous Improvement of Quality of Care and Patient Safety (PASQ). We basically worked in tandem in all the work packages: gathering data (through screening of policy documents, literature study, stakeholder consulation via surveys, focus groups and expert workshops), analysing data (via qualitative and statistical methods and via visualisation of text-based data), and writing of the report with a validated set of recommendations to the federal government. The project had a very strict timeline that stretched over barely eight months.
The report on the maturity of integrated care in Belgium will serve as a cornerstone for the further reform of the Belgian health care system towards more integrated care. This report offers many insights to build upon and can also be an inspiration for other countries that are facing a similar transition.
The report will be available during the summer of 2022.