Integrated care is a burgeoning field. As is often the case in new areas of inquiry and action, conceptual clarification is demanded. Without such attention, it would be difficult to advance theory and practice in this increasingly important professional arena. In the following discussion paper, the authors explore the intellectual territory of integrated care, and underscore the need for a patient-centric imperative and meaning. They also examine the practical applications and implications arising from their views. The intention is to stimulate fruitful dialogue and debate about what 'integrated care' could and should be.