Levers for integrating social work into primary healthcare networks in Austria

Johannes Kriegel, Clemens Rissbacher, Alois Pölzl, Linda Tuttle Weidinger, Nanni Reckwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The integrated healthcare of patients with support needs in primary healthcare in Austria has insufficient structural and procedural features in terms of the quality and security of care. The aim is therefore to develop solution- and patient-oriented services that take into account both the patients’ requirements as well as the medical, nursing, therapeutic and economic perspectives. The question arises: What relevant levers can support the active participation of social work in the primary healthcare of patients with support needs in Austria? Methods: An adapted Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to investigate the levers for integrating social work into primary healthcare networks in Austria. In addition to a semi-structured literature search, subjective expert and user priorities were surveyed, cause-and-effect relationships were visualized, an extended cycle of success was developed and relevant control levers were identified by means of a pair comparison matrix and an effectiveness front. Results: This results in the targeted development and optimization of the complex integration of social work into primary healthcare in Austria, the relevant levers being the professionalization of social work, competences of social work, communication and cooperation of stakeholders. Conclusion: The identified levers have to be processed conceptually and operationally. For this purpose, an integrated concept has to be developed, which, in addition to innovative organizational instruments, includes special communication approaches as well as inter-professional process and knowledge management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Adapted analytic hierarchy process
  • Coordination
  • Primary healthcare
  • Social work
  • Success factors
  • Primary Health Care/organization & administration
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Humans
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Stakeholder Participation
  • Community Networks
  • Austria
  • Social Work/organization & administration
  • Communication


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