Scaling-up an integrated care for patients witg non-communicable diseases: an anlysis of healthcare barriers and facilitators in Slovenia and Belgium

Crt Zavrnik, Katrien Danhieux, Miriam Hurtado Monarres, Natasa Stojnic, Majda Mori Lukancic, Monika Martens, Zalika Klemenc-Ketis, Edwin Wouters, Josefien van Olmen, Antonija Poplas-Susic

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Introduction: Although the concept of integrated care for non-communicable diseases was introduced at the primary level to move from disease-centered to patient-centered care, it has only been partially implemented in European countries. The aim of this study was to identify and compare identified facilitators and barriers to scale-up this concept between Slovenia and Belgium.

Methods: This was a qualitative study. Fifteen focus groups and fifty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with stakeholders at the micro, meso and macro levels. In addition, data from two previously published studies were used for the analysis. Data collection and analysis was initially conducted at country level. Finally, the data was evaluated by a cross-country team to assess similarities and differences between countries.

Results: Four topics were identified in the study: patient-centered care, teamwork, coordination of care and task delegation. Despite the different contexts, true teamwork and patient-centered care are limited in both countries by hierarchies and a very heavily skewed medical approach. The organization of primary healthcare in Slovenia probably facilitates the coordination of care, which is not the case in Belgium. The financing and organization of primary practices in Belgium was identified as a barrier to the implementation of task delegation between health professionals.

Conclusions: This study allowed formulating some important concepts for future healthcare for non-communicable diseases at the level of primary healthcare. The results could provide useful insights for other countries with similar health systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalZdravstveno Varstvo
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)158-166
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • scale-up
  • non-communicable diseases
  • patientcentered care
  • primary healthcare
  • integrated healthcare

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