The literature on integration indicates the need for an enhanced theorization of institutional integration. This article proposes path dependence as an analytical framework to study the systems in which integration takes place.
PRISMA proposes a model for integrating health and social care services for older adults. This model was initially tested in Quebec. The PRISMA France study gave us an opportunity to analyze institutional integration in France.
A qualitative approach was used. Analyses were based on semi-structured interviews with actors of all levels of decision-making, observations of advisory board meetings, and administrative documents.
Our analyses revealed the complexity and fragmentation of institutional integration. The path dependency theory, which analyzes the change capacity of institutions by taking into account their historic structures, allows analysis of this situation. The path dependency to the Bismarckian system and the incomplete reforms of gerontological policies generate the coexistence and juxtaposition of institutional systems. In such a context, no institution has sufficient ability to determine gerontology policy and build institutional integration by itself.
Using path dependence as an analytical framework helps to understand the reasons why institutional integration is critical to organizational and clinical integration, and the complex construction of institutional integration in France.