Introduction Effective collaboration between public health and the health care system is essential for connecting medical and community health-related resources and improving population health. We investigated the linkages between local health departments and primary care clinics in Nebraska. Methods We conducted a mixed-method study by using semistructured inperson and telephone interviews and surveys in 2017 and 2018 with directors of 19 Nebraska local health departments. Interviews and surveys assessed activities and programs that health departments implemented or planned with clinics in their jurisdictions. Barriers, benefits, and opportunities for building the linkages were identified. Results Strong linkages existed between local health departments and primary care clinics. Linkages focused on the control and prevention of chronic diseases and on traditional public health programs, including screening for cancer and other chronic diseases, vaccinations, worksite wellness programs, home visits, clinic and medication assistance referrals, health message development, electronic health records data analyses, staff education, and improvements in policies and procedures. The most frequently reported barrier was funding, and the most frequently reported benefit was patient behavior change. The opportunity most frequently reported was chronic disease health coaching. Conclusion Extensive linkages exist between Nebraska local health departments and the health care systems in their areas. Additional funding, effective workforce management, community needs assessments, and program evaluation can support joint initiatives to address community health priorities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health