Integrated Health Services – What and Why?

Catriona Waddington, HLSP and Dominique Egger

This Technical Brief is intended as a practical aid for people involved in discussions about “integrated health services”. The term “integrated health services” has several usages and can be used to refer to a number of different health service issues. This Brief aims to demonstrate both the importance of clarity and the fact that “integration” is an important and topical issue. The Brief outlines the various definitions of “integrated health services” and proposes one overall working definition. It then briefly describes key questions around integration – Is it a good thing? How is it achieved? In the past, discussions about integration have been rather polarized – this note aims to show that integration is best seen as a continuum and that it involves technical discussions about the organization of various tasks which need to be performed in order to provide a population with good quality health services.

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