Evaluating Integrated eCare: Discussions and Guidance of a Diverse Field

Evaluating Integrated eCare: Discussions and Guidance of a Diverse Field

Anne-Kirstine Dyrvig (Center for Innovative Medical Technologies, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6138-7.ch008
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Abstract

Evaluation of projects on integrated eCare is key to implementation and widespread use. The evaluation must, though, be thorough and include research methods from multiple different research traditions simultaneously. This implies a necessity of knowledge from all research paradigms and understanding of proper reporting. In this chapter, guidance for evaluation of integrated eCare is provided, along with discussions of advantages and disadvantages related to certain decisions that must be made during the research process. As an aid for understanding, real-life examples of evaluation are provided to illustrate challenges and possible solutions throughout the chapter.
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Background

Due to differences in organization and reimbursement of health and social care in different countries, definitions are necessary to ensure a common understanding. In this section central terms are defined for use throughout the chapter.

Integrated Care

Integrated eCare is usually designed in order to solve different types of problems in overall health and social care provision simultaneously.

Examples of problems that are thought solved through implementation of eCare include duplication of work (e.g. GP and hospital making the same blood tests), or communication across sectors (e.g. ensuring that home care service providers are informed on a patient being discharged from hospital). In line of this thinking, Leichsenring et. al. (2013) defined integration of care as:

“Integration is usually conceptualized as a process through which new methods of working together bring actors and/or things closer to one another and allow them to become more tightly bound to each other. In this perspective a care system is integrated when dysfunctional barriers are overcome and smoother system function is attained”.

The aim of providing ICT supported integrated care thus comprises the aspects of collaboration that causes problems in health service provision.

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