Towards a values framework for integrated health services: An international Delphi study

Nick Zonneveld*, Jörg Raab, M. Minkman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)


In order to organize person-centered health services for a growing number of people with multiple complex health and social care needs, a shift from fragmented to integrated health services delivery has to take place. For the organization of governance in integrated health services, it is important to better understand the underlying factors that drive collaboration, decision-making and behavior between individuals and organizations. Therefore, this article focuses on these underlying normative aspects of integrated health services. This study investigates the values that underpin integrated health services delivery as a concept, by examining the extent to which an initial literature based set of underlying values underpins integrated care and the relevance of these values on the different levels of integration.

An international Delphi study with 33 experts from 13 different countries was carried out to examine the initial set of underlying values of integrated health services. In addition, the relevance of the values was assessed on the different levels of integration: personal level, professional level, management level and system level.

The study resulted in a refined set of 18 values of integrated health services developed in three Delphi study rounds. In addition, the results provided insight into the relevance of these values on the personal level (e.g. ‘trustful’), professional level (e.g. ‘collaborative’), management level (e.g. ‘efficient’) and system level (e.g. ‘comprehensive’) of integration. Some of the values score consistent across the different levels of integration while other values score inconsistent across these levels.

The Delphi study resulted in an international normative basis for integrated health services delivery as a concept. The values can be used as ingredients for a values framework and provide a better understanding of the normative aspects of integrated health services delivery. Future research could focus on associated behaviors in practice, the relationship between normative integration and governance, and differences between the value priorities of stakeholder groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number224
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • CARE
  • Framework
  • Governance
  • Integrated care
  • Integrated health services delivery
  • Model
  • Normative integration
  • Values


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