Promoting coordination in Norwegian health care
Introduction: The Norwegian health care system is well organized within its two main sectors - primary health and long term care on the one hand, and hospitals and specialist services on the other. However, the relation between them lacks mediating structures.
Policy practice: Enhancing coordination between primary and secondary health care has been central in Norwegian health care policy the last decade. In 2003 a committee was appointed to identify coordination problems and proposed a lot of practical and organisational recommendations. It relied on an approach challenging primary and secondary health care in shared geographical regions to take action. However, these proposals were not implemented. In 2008 a new Minister of Health and Care worked out plans under the key term "Coordination Reform". These reform plans superseded and expanded the previous policy initiatives concerning cooperation, but represented also a shift in focus to a regulative and centralised strategy, including new health legislation, structural reforms and use of economic incentives that are now about to be implemented.
Discussion: The article analyses the perspectives and proposals of the previous and the recent reform initiatives in Norway and discusses them in relation to integrated care measures implemented in Denmark and Sweden.