Health services fragmentation is one of the main obstacles to attain effective health care provision in many Latin American countries; leading to difficulties in the access to care, poor technical quality, discontinuity of care and inefficiencies in the use of scarce resources. In this particular environment of fragmented care delivery coupled with the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, the challenge consists in exploring avenues that lead to better care integration and to more satisfactory health outcomes.
Many countries have promoted the development of integrated health care networks (IHN), defined as a network of organisations that provides or arranges to provide a coordinated continuum of services to a defined population and is willing to be held clinically and fiscally accountable for the health status and outcomes of the population served.
Nevertheless, preliminary results of the research project Equity-LA have identified numerous barriers to access health care services in the IHN in Colombia and Brazil. Some of these barriers are related to deficiencies in the coordination across different care levels and to the quality of the care provided.
Thus, the study’s purpose is to contribute to improving efficiency and quality of health care services in Latin America by generating evidence on best practices of care integration, which will be translated into effective policies for varied social, political and economic contexts.