Background: Fragmentation and lack of coordination often occur among organisations offering treatment for individuals with substance-use disorders. Better integration from a system perspective within a network of organisations offering substance-use disorder services can be developed using various integration strategies at the administrative and clinical levels. This study aims to identify integration strategies implemented in Quebec substance-use disorder networks and to assess their strengths and limitations.
Methods: A total of 105 stakeholders representing two regions and four local substance-use disorder networks participated in focus groups or individual interviews. Thematic qualitative and descriptive quantitative analyses were conducted.
Results: Six types of service integration strategies have been implemented to varying degrees in substance-use disorder networks. They are: 1) coordination activities-governance, 2) primary-care consolidation models, 3) information and monitoring management tools, 4) service coordination strategies, 5) clinical evaluation tools and 6) training activities.
Conclusion: Important investments have been made in Quebec for the training and assessment of individuals with substance-use disorders, particularly in terms of support for emergency room liaison teams and the introduction of standardised clinical evaluation tools. However, the development of integration strategies was insufficient to ensure the implementation of successful networks. Planning, consolidation of primary care for substance-use disorders and systematic implementation of various clinical and administrative integration strategies are needed in order to ensure a better continuum of care for individuals with substance-use disorders.
Keywords: integration; network; services; substance-use disorders.