There is increasing recognition that the US healthcare system fails people with complex health and social needs.
These individuals repeatedly cycle through multiple healthcare, social service, and other systems without lasting improvements to their health or wellbeing.
Complex care serves these individuals. It is a person-centered approach to care delivery that address the needs of people whose combinations of medical, behavioral health, and social challenges result in extreme patterns of healthcare utilization and cost. Complex care works at the individual and systemic levels: it coordinates better care for individuals while reshaping ecosystems of services and healthcare.
At its heart, complex care seeks to be:
- Person-centered: Care delivery is designed around the whole person, their needs, and their convenience.
- Equitable: Complex care addresses the consequences of systemic issues such as poverty and racism, and ensures consumers have a strong voice in developing solutions.
- Cross-sector: Complex care works at the system level to break down divisions between fields, sectors, and specialties.
- Team-based: Complex care is delivered through interprofessional, non-traditional, and inclusive teams.
- Data-driven: Timely, cross-sector data are freely shared across all care team members.
In 2016, Camden Coalition launched the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs (National Center) to improve wellbeing for individuals with complex medical, psychological, and social needs. The Blueprint for Complex Care, developed by the National Center, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and the Center for Health Care Strategies, takes stock of the current state of the complex care field and recommends action for building on its momentum. Our definition of complex care is adapted from the Blueprint for Complex Care.