Background: Over the past years, Greece has undergone several endeavors aimed at modernizing and improving national health care services with a focus on PHC. However, the extent to which integrated primary health care has been achieved is still questioned. Purpose: This paper explores the extent to which integrated primary health care (PHC) is an issue in the current agenda of policy makers in Greece, reporting constraints and opportunities and highlighting the need for a policy perspective in developing integrated PHC in this Southern European country. Methods: A systematic review in PubMed/Medline and SCOPUS, along with a hand search in selected Greek biomedical journals was undertaken to identify key papers, reports, editorials or opinion letters relevant to integrated health care. Results: Our systematic review identified 198 papers and 161 out of them were derived from electronic search. Fifty-three papers in total served the scope of this review and are shortly reported. A key finding is that the long-standing dominance of medical perspectives in Greek health policy has been paving the way towards vertical integration, pushing aside any discussions about horizontal or comprehensive integration of care. Conclusion: Establishment of integrated PHC in Greece is still at its infancy, requiring major restructuring of the current national health system, as well as organizational culture changes. Moving towards a new policy-based model would bring this missing issue on the discussion table, facilitating further development.
- Integrated care
- Primary health care