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    Report Examines Benefits of Alignment Between Primary and Public Health During Pandemic

    • Published
    • 15 December 2021
    • Category
    • News

    In a newly released study, researchers found that productive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have involved collaboration among public health and primary care personnel with established relationships or “test-and-treat” and other disease management models. For example, test-and-treat programs require public health and primary care professionals to collaborate on disease identification, vaccine uptake, education initiatives and surveillance. Workforce flexibility and adaptability and the expansion of telehealth services were also central themes in interviews with health care professionals.

    The study, Integrating Primary Care and Public Health to Save Lives and Improve Practice During Public Health Crises: Lessons from COVID-19, was published Dec. 14, 2021, by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

    Failure to bring primary care providers into a front-line role as responders alongside public health personnel resulted in missed opportunities to provide better quality care, faster testing, more effective contact tracing, greater acceptance of vaccination and better communication with patients, researchers found. Recommendations in the report include:

    • Housing primary care and public health services together in one location
    • Aligning primary care and public health initiatives to drive congressional action
    • Crafting efforts to support, protect and sustain primary care and public health workforces
    • Enhancing health systems’ surge capacity and extending public health disease containment interventions
    • Positioning the U.S. for a more effective response to a future pandemic

    The authors concluded that data and themes contained in the report indicate the pandemic “must be a catalyst for change.”

     

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