Complex patients

COMPLEX PATIENTS

afb1_ComplexPatientsHealth care systems in developed countries are fragmented due to medical (sub)specialization, to the split between general health care and mental health care and to the rupture between primary and secondary health care settings. Such fragmented health care systems are often not able to deliver what patients are in need for and what standards of care recommend. An important subgroup of patients who specifically suffers from these splits in our current health care systems resulting in either its underutilization or excess utilization are the complex medically ill such as the frail elderly, the chronically ill with multiple morbidities, including psychiatric morbidity, those who abuse substances and patients with persisting functional complaints.

As the “Chasm”-report 1 states: “Quality problems occur typically not because of failure of goodwill, knowledge, effort or resources devoted to health care, but because of fundamental shortcomings in the ways care is organized. Trying harder will not work; changing systems of care will.”

  1. Institute of Medicine (2001). Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Committee on Quality of Health Care in America. National Academy Press, Washington DC.