HIMSS News

Improving Population Health by Integrating Public Health and the Healthcare Delivery System

On March 20, 2017,  José T. Montero, MD, Deputy Director at the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and Director of Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support  presented on the Region IV Public Health Training Center (HTC) webinar, “The Interface of Public Health and Health Care: Population Health through Improved Infectious Disease Prevention and Management.”

Dr. Montero proposed  the following as the degrees of healthcare integration: 

  • Isolation- Health entities working separately
  • Mutual Awareness-primary care and public health are informed about each other
  • Collaboration- primary care and health care are planning and executing jointly
  • Cooperation- sharing of resources, data, space or personnel
  • Partnership-integration on programmatic level 
  • Merger- Seamlessly working together 

Dr. Montero also spoke about moving from the acute care system and a coordinated seamless healthcare system to a Community Integrated Healthcare System. The interactions between health care and public health sectors are varied and dependent on local circumstances, such as the availability of resources and differences in health challenges.  As a result, it is not possible to prescribe a specific model or template for how this integration should look.

For several years, there has been an ongoing national dialogue about the need for improved coordination and integration between public health and the healthcare delivery system. With improved collaboration between these two entities, expectations are that if population health objectives are effectively met, quality of care and services can be refined, and costs could decrease. In recent years, infectious diseases have been at the forefront of the public health portfolio and have helped demonstrate the significant need to strengthen the collaboration between public health and healthcare.

For additional information, please review a CDC Office for State, Trial, Local and Territorial Support Fact Sheet.