Integration and collaboration

Work together to better organize and connect services to meet the needs of the population and ensure optimal use of resources. 

A fully integrated system from end-to-end means individuals and organizations intentionally work together to better organize and connect services to meet the needs of the population and ensure optimal use of resources. It also aligns services, systems and process so that the health care system is coordinated, accessible and high quality. The Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 (LHSIA), defines integration broadly to include a range of activities that enable outcomes that are central to the provincial goals for the health system. LHSIA clearly identifies that it is the responsibility of both the LHIN and Health Service Providers to identify and pursue integration opportunities. 

Continuum of Integration

Ontario’s Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care and Patients First: Road Map to Strengthen Home and Community Care clearly identify the need for the province, LHINs and health service providers to continually pursue opportunities to integrate and align services. To accomplish this goal, integration needs to be more than a project by project endeavour. It needs to include system wide integration and collaboration. This takes a common vision and trust between health service providers and system partners working together to improve quality of care, population health and value for money. However, we realize that when we feel under pressure to improve performance, we may miss the opportunity to collaborate with others. It is only through the common understanding of the problem that comes from a collaborative and trusting approach that we can develop a joint and coordinated approach to finding solutions. Success often stems from effective health service provider governance leadership to demonstrate commitment, collaboration and engagement with the community. This approach may initially take longer, but will move us toward improving the system for patients, residents and clients through the development of an integrated system of care.


  • Work alongside health service providers to pursue opportunities to transform the health system to provide integrated, population-based care by strengthening end to end integration at a multi-community and local level across the South West LHIN.
  • Proactively work with health service provider governance through Board-to-Board engagement to intentionally identify and support integration activities related to service, administration and governance .
  • Provide tools to assist health service providers to continually assess quality of health services, organizational health, human resources, finances and performance outcomes to identify and successfully advance integration and collaboration opportunities.
  • Engage health service providers in capacity planning activities to improve care and use resources more efficiently by integrating/aligning services and resources.
  • Continue to evaluate integration activities to ensure they are in the best interest of the public. Proposed integrations must demonstrate how they will positively impact on population health, experience of care and value for money.
  • Work with health service providers to improve back office services, make the best use of public resources, and plan for future health system transformation.
  • Work alongside health service providers to pursue opportunities for Integrated Funding Models. This will promote high quality person-centred care across the care continuum by bundling payment to encourage coordination of care, reduce variation of care pathways, increase efficiency, and improve outcomes.

The Local Health System Integration Act

Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) are to create integrated health systems as a means of improving the health of Ontarians. Integrated health systems provide coordinated, accessible and high quality health care that focuses on client needs, improves patient care and makes service delivery more efficient.

Integration is one of five core functions of the LHIN, along with planning, funding, performance accountability and community engagement. 
The Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 (LHSIA), defines integration broadly to include a range of activities that enable outcomes that are central to the provincial goals:

  • Improving accessibility of health services to allow people to move more easily through the health system;
  • Improving the match between services provided and the multiple needs of clients; and
  • Making the health care system more sustainable and accountable and promoting service innovation by enabling effective and efficient use of system resources and capacity.

LHSIA, which forms the legal framework for LHINs, further defines ‘integrate’ as the following activities:

  • Co-ordination of services and interaction between different persons and entities;
  • Establishing partnerships to provide services or in operating;
  • The transfer, merging or amalgamation of services, operations, persons or entities;
  • Starting or ceasing to provide services; and
  • Ceasing to operate or dissolving or winding up the operations of a person or entity.

Integration within the South West LHIN is defined as the process of effectively managing the alignment of multiple systems of independent (and interdependent) organizations with unique goals and objectives to achieve the current Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP) system level goals and priorities.

LHSIA identifies integration as a responsibility of the LHINs and HSPs and obligates both to identify opportunities for integration in their local health systems.