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Working paper

Health care integration in the Russian federation: conceptual framework, evaluation, and new instruments

Sheiman I., Shevski V.
Fragmentation in organization and discontinuities in the provision of medical care are problems in all healthcare systems, whether it is the mixed public-private system in the USA, national health services in the UK, or insurance-based ones in Western Europe and Russia. In all of these countries, a major challenge is to improve integration in order to improve efficiency and health outcomes. This article assesses issues related to fragmentation and integration in conceptual terms and argues that key attributes of integration are teamwork, coordination, and continuity of care. It then presents a summary of integration problems in Russia and presents the results of a large survey of physicians concerning the attributes of integration. It is argued that the characteristics of the national service delivery model do not ensure integration. The Semashko model of service delivery, although designed as an integrated model, has been distorted under pressure of the process of specialization of care. It is also argued that larger organizational forms of service provision, like policlinics and integrated hospital-policlinics, do not have higher scores of integration indicators than smaller ones. Proposals to improve integration in Russia are presented with the focus on the regular evaluation of integration and fragmentation, regulation of integration activities, enhancing the role of PHC providers, and economic incentives