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How to improve care for people with multimorbidity in Europe? Policy Brief 23. Health systems and policy analysis.

Rijke, M., Struckmann, V., Heide, I. van der, Hujala, A., Barbabella, F., Ginneken, E. van, .Schellevis, F., ICARE4EU Consortium. How to improve care for people with multimorbidity in Europe? Policy Brief 23. Health systems and policy analysis. Brussel: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, 2017.
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European health systems do not meet the needs of patients with multimorbidity because they are “disease oriented” and organized around single medical specialties which fragments care. Fragmented care is associated with contradictory medical advice, over-prescribing, over-hospitalization and poor patient satisfaction. Policy-makers can improve care for people with multimorbidity by better integration. Making care patient-centred is another way of approaching the fragmentation of care and of increasing patient satisfaction. It requires a clear strategic (and ideally shared) vision. Policy-makers can foster both integrated and patient-centred care by: Aligning policy, regulatory and financial environments so that they are supportive of integrated care and help make effective care for people with multimorbidity sustainable; Developing multidisciplinary guidelines; Developing new professional roles (e.g. care coordinator) or functions and assigning explicit responsibility for coordination and links between sectors; Implementing individualized care planning (supported by integrated electronic health records); Putting in place electronic decision support systems that enable patient-centred care and integrating them with information systems and eHealth applications; Adapting privacy and data protection legislation to allow sharing of patient information; Investing in training and tools that help care professionals adopt patient-centred approaches (including training in patient-centred communication and multiprofessional and intersectoral teamwork); Developing the knowledge and skills of patients and their informal carers and encouraging active participation in decision-making and self-management; Promoting collaboration between health care, social care, patient organizations and carers; Including patient-relevant outcomes as performance indicators, as well as clinical outcomes, so that providing integrated care becomes part of quality measurement; Putting in place payment mechanisms to incentivize patient-centred integrated care. The continuous evaluation of innovative practices is needed over the long term to identify effective elements and further strengthen patient-centred integrated care. (aut. ref.)