Health system foundations for effective Regional Integrated Care Organisations (RICOs) - co-producing evidence to inform the design of regional organisations to support integrated care in Ireland

Health systems all over the world are struggling to provide equitable access to integrated, patient centred services that better meets the needs of individuals and populations. In Ireland, the way our health system is funded and structured creates particular barriers for people trying to access effective, responsive, quality care.

The 2017 Oireachtas report, Sláintecare, set out a ten-year roadmap to deliver universal access to integrated care. In August 2018, the Department of Health published the Sláintecare Implementation Strategy which specified how Regional Integrated Care Organisations (RICOs) will be a central mechanism to funding and delivering healthcare regionally, based on population health needs, with a much stronger focus on prevention, better health outcomes, accessing care in the community.

This research will be instrumental in influencing the design of RICOs and providing knowledge to enable those responsible for implementing Slaintecare (Sláintecare Implementation Office, Department of Health and HSE) to make evidence-informed decisions to deliver more effective, person-centred regional integrated care organisations (RICOs). This research will draw on international and national theory, evidence and experience to assist the Slaintecare Implementation Office work with key stakeholders to co-design the best implementation approach for RICOs.

This research will be happening as the RICOs are at design and early implementation stage allowing evidence and knowledge learnt to actively feed into the realisation and development of RICOs. This learning will be useful for implementation of integrated care and major health system reform in the Irish context and internationally.

The design and policy implementation process will be documented and a Living Implementation Framework with Evaluation (LIFE) will be devised in order to create a learning, iterative and collaborative practice of RICO implementation. The essence of this project is to use academic and real-world knowledge and evidence to bring about health system change in the public interest.

Award Date
30 June 2019
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Sara Burke
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Applied Partnership Awards