Collaboration also is typically characterized by necessary precursors. Clinicians are more likely to collaborate when they perceive each other as having the knowledge necessary for good clinical care (Baggs and Schmitt, 1997). Mutual respect and trust are necessary precursors to collaboration as well (Baggs and Schmitt, 1988; Rice, 2000); personal respect and trust are intertwined with respect for and trust in clinical competence.

Care coordination is the outcome of effective collaboration. Coordinated care prevents drug–drug interactions and redundant care processes. It does not waste the patient’s time or the resources of the health care system. Moreover, it promotes accurate diagnosis and treatment because all providers receive relevant diagnostic and treatment information from all other providers caring for a patient.

Care integration is related to care coordination. As defined by experts in health care organization and management (Shortell et al., 2000), integration of care and services can be of three types:

  • “Clinical integration is the extent to which patient care services are coordinated across people, functions, activities, and sites over time so as to maximize the value of services delivered to patients” (p. 129).

  • Physician (or clinician) integration is the extent to which clinicians are economically linked to an organized delivery system, use its facilities and services, and actively participate in its planning, management and governance.

  • Functional integration is “the extent to which key support functions and activities (such as financial management, strategic planning, human resources management, and information management) are coordinated across operating units so as to add the greatest overall value to the system” (p. 31). The most important of these functions and activities are human resources deployment strategies, information technologies, and continuous improvement processes.

Shortell et al.’s clinical integration corresponds to care coordination as addressed in the Quality Chasm report.

In the context of co-occurring mental and substance-use problems and illnesses, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) similarly identifies three levels of integration (SAMHSA, undated):

  • Integrated treatment refers to interactions between clinicians to address the individual needs of the client/patient, and consists of “any mechanism by which treatment interventions for co-occurring disorders are combined within the context of a primary treatment relationship or service setting” (p. 61).

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