It takes a team: the importance of integration between primary care and cancer specialist care.

Eva Grunfeld1

1Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Canada,2University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Abstract

Projected increases in cancer incidence and prevalence herald a greater reliance on primary care along the entire cancer care pathway. Integration of services between primary care and cancer specialist care is vital to optimize quality and outcomes of care, and yet is known to be problematic.  Patients often need to consult many health professionals across multiple health care settings. Without proper integration this can lead to care that is fragmented and uncoordinated which, in turn, can jeopardize quality, efficiency and patient safety. Mitigating this problem brings new challenges and opportunities for both primary care and cancer systems. This presentation will give examples of the consequences of poor integration and review approaches designed to improve integration such as structuring of healthcare services, innovative models of care, and practice tools.