Understanding for whom, how and why Sydney Local Health District’s Integrated Response was Effective in Addressing COVID-19: A Critical Realist Qualitative Study

Hueiming Liu, Darith Liu, Corey Moore, Lisa Parcsi, Ferdinand Mukumbang, Denise De Souza, Miranda Shaw, Lou Anne Blunden, Teresa Anderson, John Eastwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Australia has been comparatively effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. The Sydney Local Health District [SLHD] used a “whole of health” integrated approach to respond to the pandemic. The aim of this study was to understand for whom, how and why this response worked, to inform a sustainable system transformation. Methods: A critical realist qualitative study was conducted with 20 purposively selected key informants. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and analysed using thematic analysis guided by abduction and retroduction. The five strategies of the WHO integrated people-centred health services framework was used to guide the overall study. Results: An enabling environment of a strong governance, emergency preparedness, a committed and adaptable workforce, and a strong core infrastructure underpinned SLHD’s effective response. With a culture of embracing innovation, the district adapted virtual care to effectively quarantine people through their special health accommodation, and coordinate care across tertiary and community services. The established interagency relationships prior to the pandemic, enabled service directors to quickly integrate their services, which empowered and engaged the community [and staff], working across relevant sectors to provide care “where the people are”; reaching marginalised populations, and reducing community transmission. Discussion and Conclusion: The SLHD’s progress towards a ‘whole of health’ approach, empowered and enabled the district to effectively work within and across sectors to address the pandemic in a people-centred manner. Sustaining the contextual conditions and mechanisms, that facilitated effective integration, will be beneficial beyond the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberhttp://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.5991
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Integrated care
  • Qualitative research

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