Continuity of care is the set of processes implemented in an integrated manner by the healthcare system in order to offer patients the healthcare they need regardless of the healthcare system (public or private). IDIS proposes and demonstrates in its report “Continuity of care and the single patient” The reality today does not correspond to this theoretical definition, since there are protocols that do not prioritize the patient and there is a lack of synergies between levels of care or supply systems. In this sense, “at the IDIS Foundation we believe that establishing continuity of care in our healthcare system is essential. It is not an option, it is an obligation that has a direct impact on the right of patients to move through the system freely, seeking the best results for their medical problem.
This would reduce the pressure of care in the public system, avoid redundancies, and facilitate the task of physicians, undoubtedly improving the patient experience, as well as health and health outcomes. Interoperability tools and proposals for change are needed to achieve interoperability and promote cooperation between private and public healthcare in order to promote a more sustainable, synergic and efficient healthcare and social-healthcare model.
In other words, it is necessary for the patient to be one in the entire healthcare system and for all our efforts to benefit them”; this was stated by Juan Abarca, president of the Institute for the Development and Integration of Healthcare. (IDIS Foundation)during the IDIS Conference: Continuity of Care and the Single Patient, where the results of the report were presented. The analysis, carried out by Accenture for the IDIS Foundation, gathers the perception and opinion of patients -survey carried out by Sigma Dos on 3,000 people- and professionals -7 interviews with healthcare professionals, of which 5 were with medical professionals from different specialties and 2 with oncologists- in relation to aspects related to the aforementioned continuity of care. It also develops a use case of a patient with breast cancer to show the existing breakpoints and make proposals for the benefit of the patient and the efficiency of the system.
The results of the survey reveal that a 70,2% of the population considers it essential to promote cooperation between private and public health care in order to promote a more sustainable health and social-health care model. Likewise, 85% consider it very positive, quite positive and positive to receive treatment or undergo tests in public and private healthcare and that all the data can be recognized and evaluated by the healthcare professional attending at any given moment. Also of interest are those included in the “Report on the social perception of cancer in Spain”, by the ECO Foundation (project “Cancer Now”), which show that 40% of the population consider early detection to be the most relevant area in cancer, followed by research.
The professionals, for their part, consider that for continuity of care to exist, it is necessary to place the patient as the backbone, with the system adapting to the patient and not the other way around; synergies must be established between levels, territorial barriers must be broken down and the private sector must be normalized as part of the healthcare system. The Director General of the IDIS Foundation, Marta Villanueva, explained that “together with the assessments of patients and professionals, a study has been carried out to analyze the breast cancer patient’s journey to see what the break points may be in the healthcare process”.
Given the lack of integrated prevention programs, it is proposed to create an integrated strategy of prevention plans (primary and secondary) and health promotion. It also advocates the creation of mixed committees by health areas for therapeutic and research purposes, facilitating the dispensation of treatment or inclusion in clinical trials. Finally, it proposes the creation of integrated structures with multidisciplinary support groups as a fundamental tool for bringing different services and specialties into contact with each other.