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An Environmental Scan of Primary Care and Public Health in the Province of British Columbia: A Series Report

An Environmental Scan of Primary Care and Public Health in the Province of British Columbia: A Series Report

UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, Vancouver(BC) (2010)
Report
Summary

This report describes an environmental scan of primary care and public health in the province of British Columbia (BC) as one of a series of steps in a larger program of research: Strengthening Primary Health Care through Primary Care and Public Health Collaboration Study (Strengthening PHC Study). We reviewed grey literature such as health authority service delivery plans, reports and websites and worked with our decision-maker partners to conduct informational interviews. There are a number of structures in BC that could enhance collaboration between primary care and public health including: health authority structures that promote integration between primary care and public health for particular population and disease groups; community health centres as promising organizational structures in which primary care and public health functions are already integrated; and deploying nurses (registered nurses and nurse practitioners) who are already trained in both primary care and public health to facilitate increased collaboration. The implementation of integrated health networks, newer ways of primary care delivery (e.g., group medical visits) and additional practice support in primary care has already increased collaboration across the two sectors, as well as across different disciplines including medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy and social work. However, challenges that inhibit collaboration between these two sectors include: differing funding structures and the fact there is wide variation in the level of investment of each sector at the health authority level; differing policy and mandates at the organizational level that influences how health human resources are deployed; and training primary care and public health care professionals remains largely discipline-specific.