Faculty & Research
The School

Integrative models of service delivery

The world over people are increasingly demanding more integrated, holistic services. For the world's service organisations offering this integration is a fundamental challenge.

In meeting this challenge these organisations are combining aspects of their services with those of other organisations, either in the same or different sectors (eg public, private, voluntary). This is being done either physically, through co-location, or virtually, through online platforms.

These ‘service integrations’ are expected to change the way (or ‘mode’) that services are delivered to clients, customers, patients or students. This, in turn, is likely to influence the management and design of services, as well as the day-to-day work of professionals.

In this collaborative project – working with the UK-based National Institute of Health Research’s (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Oxford – we will investigate ‘service integration’ involving the care of patients with chronic illnesses. We have chosen this area for two reasons.

Firstly, a variety of recent developments have introduced strong incentives for the UK-based health ‘trusts’ – divisions of the Nation Health Service, providing primary and secondary care to patients in specific regions – to pursue initiatives aimed at integration of their many services. Secondly, there has been a worldwide increase in the number of patients with chronic, illnesses (Epping-Jordan, Bengoa, Kawar, & Sabate, 2001), such as diabetes, dementia or arthritis. Managing these long-term conditions can stress health service organisations and systems.

Despite the rich insights from multiple streams of past organisational research, the question still remains: How is service integration performed in practice over time, and what is its effect, first, on the way the service is delivered and, second, on the everyday work of the professionals involved?

These are the broad questions of Professor Sue Dopson and Dr Angela Aristidou's research programme for 2015 to 2017.

Research outputs

Our first study within this research programme will examine if and how 'traditional' and 'emergent' (eg online, mobile or through social media) mental health services in Oxfordshire work together, with a focus on services for young adults (18-35). It will look at the effect that emergent methods may have on the design and management of mental health services for both the providers and the people who use them. This information can then be used to give insights and recommendations towards an integrative, holistic model of service delivery for young people with mental illness.

Our second study in this programme will examine the shifts in existing 'modes' of service delivery, when state-funded mental health service organisations integrate with voluntary sector organisations. In particular, this study aims to explore what, if any, is the effect on the work of the health professionals in the state-funded mental health service organisation.


December 2014 - December 2017