Health care agreements as a tool for coordinating health and social services

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Andreas Rudkjøbing, Martin Strandberg-Larsen, Karsten Vrangbaek, John Sahl Andersen, Allan Krasnik

INTRODUCTION: In 2007, a substantial reform changed the administrative boundaries of the Danish health care system and introduced health care agreements to be signed between municipal and regional authorities. To assess the health care agreements as a tool for coordinating health and social services, a survey was conducted before (2005-2006) and after the reform (2011).

THEORY AND METHODS: The study was designed on the basis of a modified version of Alter and Hage's framework for conceptualising coordination. Both surveys addressed all municipal level units (n = 271/98) and a random sample of general practitioners (n = 700/853).

RESULTS: The health care agreements were considered more useful for coordinating care than the previous health plans. The power relationship between the regional and municipal authorities in drawing up the agreements was described as more equal. Familiarity with the agreements among general practitioners was higher, as was the perceived influence of the health care agreements on their work.

DISCUSSION: Health care agreements with specific content and with regular follow-up and systematic mechanisms for organising feedback between collaborative partners exemplify a useful tool for the coordination of health and social services.

CONCLUSION: There are substantial improvements with the new health agreements in terms of formalising a better coordination of the health care system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere036
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Volume14
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
ISSN1568-4156
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014

ID: 129734586