Towards an international taxonomy of integrated primary care: a Delphi consensus approach

Abstract

Background

Developing integrated service models in a primary care setting is considered an essential strategy for establishing a sustainable and affordable health care system. The Rainbow Model of Integrated Care (RMIC) describes the theoretical foundations of integrated primary care. The aim of this study is to refine the RMIC by developing a consensus-based taxonomy of key features.

Methods

First, the appropriateness of previously identified key features was retested by conducting an international Delphi study that was built on the results of a previous national Delphi study. Second, categorisation of the features among the RMIC integrated care domains was assessed in a second international Delphi study. Finally, a taxonomy was constructed by the researchers based on the results of the three Delphi studies.

Results

The final taxonomy consists of 21 key features distributed over eight integration domains which are organised into three main categories: scope (person-focused vs. population-based), type (clinical, professional, organisational and system) and enablers (functional vs. normative) of an integrated primary care service model.

Conclusions

The taxonomy provides a crucial differentiation that clarifies and supports implementation, policy formulation and research regarding the organisation of integrated primary care. Further research is needed to develop instruments based on the taxonomy that can reveal the realm of integrated primary care in practice.

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