A review of the Mental Health Commission of NSW (the Commission) undertaken in 2018 recommended that the Commission strengthen its efforts to enhance integration, coordination and collaboration across government and the broader system. This recommendation recognizes that the systems delivering services to people with lived experience of mental health issues are often fragmented, leading to a lack of continuity of care.
The Commission engaged the services of Jacq Hackett Consulting to undertake a review of the literature (grey and academic) through and environmental scan, that have defined and/or measured integration, coordination and collaboration within a health or related field that involved cross government and nongovernment agencies working together.
The environmental scan revealed the complexity and interrelations of the terms, co-ordination, collaboration and integration. Many authors highlighted that despite the desire to improve the co-ordination of health and human services and programs there are disagreements in defining the commonly used terms, such as collaboration, co-ordination and integration.
It has been suggested perhaps the way to conceptualise these terms is to understand that the integration of services/ systems is a continuum where movement from co-operation to co-ordination to collaboration and finally to integration occurs with growing levels of connectedness and decreasing levels of autonomy and independence until they operate as a single system or entity.
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