Integrated care in cancer: What is it, how is it used and where are the gaps? A textual narrative literature synthesis

L. J. Cortis, P. R. Ward, R. A. McKinnon, B. Koczwara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Integrated care is an underpinning concept of contemporary health care policy proffered as a strategy to overcome the fragmentations in care encountered by people with complex care needs (Shaw et al. [2011] What is Integrated Care? An Overview of Integrated Care in the NHS). Cancer patients have potential to benefit from such policy, often having needs that extend beyond cancer. This paper seeks to understand how the concept of integrated care is used in the cancer literature. A search of leading databases was conducted for original research relating to integrated care or an integration intervention aiming to improve outcomes of cancer patients, and analysed using textual narrative synthesis. 38 papers were included, each with a focus on improving cancer-specific aspects of care enhancing the capabilities of the cancer multidisciplinary team. Of the eight studies involving integration between the cancer service and other care providers, all focused on utilising the external provider to deliver aspects of cancer care or placed them in a passive role, as survey participant, a recipient of cancer-related clinical information or as the comparator “usual care” arm. Within the cancer literature, integration is predominantly used to describe initiatives to improve cancer-related aspects of care. Less attention is given to integration initiatives that enhance coordination across levels of the healthcare system or service providers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12689
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Issue number4
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • cancer
  • health policy
  • health service delivery
  • integrated care


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