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Advice on setting up national care coordination in the Netherlands

Acute care is under increasing pressure: demand for care is rising and becoming more complex while staff shortages are increasing. Care coordination is seen as one of the means to cope with the shortagewhile providing citizenswith the most appropriate care. The minister has therefore decided that in 2025 every ROAZ (Regional Acute Care Chain Consultation, Dutch Regionaal Overleg Acute Zorgketen) region will have one care coordination center in which various care providers work together and that availability of this will be financed. You can read the full letter of the second chamber (in Dutch).

Zorgcoördinatie proces en stappenplan

The acute care system is under growing pressure due to increased demand and limited resources. But there's a solution on the horizon: care coordination ( Dutch zorgcoördinatie). Care coordination involves collaboration between different domains to provide timely and appropriate care for non-life-threatening acute conditions-care questions while optimizing the use of the deployment of resources. Thanks to the efforts of ActiZ, AZN, InEen, LNAZ and ZN, guidelines for care coordination have been developed in response to a mandate from the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (Dutch VWS). These guidelines establish national standards with the flexibility for regional customization.


Coordination through cooperation

To achieve this, care coordination facilities are being established within the Regional Acute Care Chain Network (ROAZ), in which stakeholders from primary care, ambulance care, nursing homes, home care, hospitals and mental health care work together. They work together to properly assess patient complaints and relevant information. The goal is to ensure that patients receive the right acute care, at the right time, in the right place and from the right provider. Through data sharing and capacity awareness, this regional coordination will optimize the use of resources.. These facilities will be available 24/7 and also help caregivers find immediately needed follow-up care and appropriate placements.

Of course, the implementation of care coordination involves challenges, such as integrating processes in primary care and ambulance services, training triage personnel, establishing transparent data-sharing systems, and ensuring appropriate pricing and financing mechanisms. However, with the rapid adoption of national conditions by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the development of regional policies by the ROAZ regions, we can begin implementing care coordination in 2024.

Achieving the goal of national integrated care coordination by 2025 requires cooperation from all stakeholders. The healthcare sector needs to work on seven change tasks, which you can find detailed in the infographic below.


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Bas Leerink Managing Director Healthcare IGH

Bas Leerink

Managing director Healthcare

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