Aceso Global is leading the new Joint Learning Network (JLN) Learning Exchange focused on vertical integration and new roles for hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our involvement is part of our efforts to promote new service delivery models based on People Centered Integrated Care (PCIC). This grant is part of a larger Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation award to strengthen and expand the JLN’s work towards achieving universal health coverage.
Vertical integration, part of a broader care coordination strategy, aims to enable care models that are organized around the healthcare needs of populations. Often conceptualized in terms of referral systems, most initiatives involving vertical integration have only focused on standardizing and improving referral systems. The group particularly focuses on the financial, institutional and logistical barriers to vertical integration, as well as patient transitions between primary care and hospitals, primary care and specialist care, and hospitals and home care.
In March 2018, 15 Learning Exchange participants from five countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sudan and Vietnam) met with Aceso Global facilitators to co-produce a vertical integration assessment tool. During the workshop, country representatives listed approximately 600 open-ended questions to potentially include in the tool, categorized along nine technical themes. In the months following the workshop, technical facilitators refined this list, developed the questions and structured the tool. Several JLN participants served as peer reviewers and provided valuable comments on draft versions of the questions and tool.
The final Vertical Integration Diagnostic and Readiness Tool was published in November 2018. The Vertical Integration Diagnostic and Readiness Tool can help leaders in LMICs to successfully assess and implement vertical integration policies, programs and pilots by guiding them through reviews of the overall policies, regulatory and enabling institutional environments for vertical integration. The tool can also be used to assess the readiness of healthcare organizations to launch vertical integration initiatives, as well as collect data and information on existing vertical integration initiatives and pilots.
Currently, Aceso Global is working with partners in the Philippines to adapt the tool to the local context and apply it in several integrated health networks.
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