Integrating health care in Australia: a qualitative evaluation
With aging populations, a growing prevalence of chronic illnesses, higher expectations for quality care and rising costs within limited health budgets, integration of healthcare is seen as a solution to these challenges. Integrated healthcare aims to overcome barriers between primary and secondary care and other disconnected patient services to improve access, continuity and quality of care. Many people in Australia are admitted to hospital for chronic illnesses that could be prevented or managed in the community. Western Sydney has high rates of diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases and the NSW State Ministry of Health has implemented key strategies through the Western Sydney Integrated Care Program (WSICP) to enhance primary care and the outcomes and experiences of patients with these illnesses.