BMC Health Services Research
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INTRODUCTION: Health systems are a complex web of interacting and interconnected parts; introducing an intervention, or the allocation of resources, in one sector can have effects across other sectors and impact the entire system. A prerequisite for effective health system reorganisation or transformation is a broad and common understanding of the current system amongst stakeholders and innovators. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart failure (HF) are common chronic diseases with high health care costs that require an integrated health system to effectively treat.
STUDY DESCRIPTION: This case study documents the first phase of system transformation at a regional level in Ontario, Canada. In this first phase, visual representations of the health system in its current state were developed using a collaborative co-creation approach, and a focus on COPD and HF. Multiple methods were used including focus groups, open-ended questionnaires, and document review, to develop a series of graphical and visual representations; a health care ecosystem map.
RESULTS: The ecosystem map identified key sectoral components, inter-component interactions, and care requirements for patients with COPD and HF and inventoried current programs and services available to deliver this care. Main findings identified that independent system-wide navigation for this vulnerable patient group is limited, primary care is central to the accessibility of nearly half of the identified care elements, and resources are not equitably distributed. The health care ecosystem mapping helped to identify care gaps and illustrates the need to resource the primary care provider and the patient with system navigation resources and interdisciplinary team care.
CONCLUSION: The co-created health care ecosystem map brought a collective understanding of the health care system as it applies to COPD and HF. The map provides a blueprint that can be adapted to other disease states and health systems. Future transformation will build on this foundational work, continuing the robust interdisciplinary co-creation strategies, exploring predictive health system modelling and identifying areas for integration.
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