Chain of care development in Sweden: results of a national study

Int J Integr Care. 2003 Oct 7;3:e01.


Chains of Care are today an important counterbalance to the ever-increasing fragmentation of Swedish health care, and the ongoing development work has high priority. Improved quality of care is the most important reason for developing Chains of Care. Despite support in the form of goals and activity plans, seven out of ten county councils are uncertain whether they have been quite successful in the development work. Strong departmentalisation of responsibilities between different medical professions and departments, types of responsibilities and power still remaining in the vertical organisation structure, together with limited participation from the local authorities, are some of the most commonly mentioned reasons for the lack of success. Even though there is hesitation regarding the development work up to today, all county councils will continue developing Chains of Care. The main reason is, as was the case with Chain of Care development up to today, to improve quality of care. Although one of the main purposes is to make health care more patient-focused, patients in general seem to have limited impact on the development work. Therefore, the challenge is to design Chains of Care, which regards patients as partners instead of objects.