Reflections on the research and policy literature about integrated services: Gaps and future directions

Year: 2012

Author: Wong, Sandie, Sumsion, Jennifer

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Given the rapidly increasing policy and research literature about integrated services, it is timely to pause and ask questions about whether further research is needed and, if so, what research would be most useful and feasible in Australian contexts. We discuss findings from a recent review of the research literature about integrated service provision (Wong, 2012). Analysis of the literature reviewed indicates that most of the work undertaken to date reports on barriers to, and facilitators of, integration. There is little evaluation of integrated service provision, with most of the literature reviewed referring to the difficulties of identifying causal relationships between integration and outcomes for children. Research into professional identity in integrated services tends to focus on the challenges involved for professionals and ways of fostering an 'inter-professional' identity, but again with little evaluation of endeavours to promote inter-professionalism.  There is relatively little on children's perspectives / experiences of Integrated services; indeed, children and to a large extent families are silent in this literature. Literature critiquing the emphasis on integrated services tends to focus on policy expectations that integrated services will address issues of social capital and social inclusion.