Fragmented care: the causes and what we can do about it
Our healthcare is fragmented and is lacking an integrated value chain. The solution lies in cooperation and an integrated care approach.
Mrs. Jansen, 65 years old, has diabetes and osteoporosis. She is being treated by different providers. They are all competent, but nonetheless something is missing in her care. She doesn’t seem to be a participant of the healthcare process. There is no central coordination. Every healthcare provider asks the same questions over and over again. Once she was prescribed medicines that didn’t go well with other medication she received through a different specialist. The general practitioner wasn’t aware. We can describe Mrs. Jansen’s care as fragmented. Her situation is typical for many people that have multiple complex conditions.
What is fragmented care?
Fragmented care arises when different healthcare providers and/or organizations do not effectively work together. The lack of cooperation is caused by healthcare providers working from their own silo. These silos are preserved because financing, laws and regulations, data management and education are not aligned or integrated.
Sick care or healthcare?
Medical science has brought us many good things. Illnesses that were uncurable, can be treated. The average life expectancy has increased significantly over the last centuries, in part due to medical science.
There is a flipside, however. Medical science has also stimulated far-reaching specializations, which has led to a reductionist, disease-specific approach. Human beings are seen as a collection of cells, organs and/or diseases. A disease means a ‘misfunctioning of the body’. That means healthcare has become sick care: ‘fixing’ the body. The rise of specialization has led to professionals focusing entirely on their own specialism and losing sight of the bigger picture.
Disease specific specialization has led to us organizing the needs of the patients separately from each other. If someone has complex multiple issues,