Introduction: This paper examines the organization, services, and priorities of public health agencies and their capacity to be learning public health systems (LPHS). An LPHS uses data to measure population health and health risks and to evaluate its services and programs, and then integrates its own research with advances in scientific knowledge to innovate and improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research is an open-access, rapid-response, peer-reviewed online journal offering brief, preliminary PHSSR findings from ongoing or recently completed empirical studies or quality improvement projects. Journal articles answer questions of importance regarding the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services; the structure, operation, and management of public health delivery systems; the application of quality improvement methods in public health settings; and/or the impact of these endeavors on population health. Findings must have the potential to guide future public health practice, health policy, and research. Frontiers is intended to provide quick access to actionable public health infrastructure research to improve public health practice at the state and local levels. It is of use to practitioners, policy makers and researchers.
Introduction: Community health needs assessments (CHNA) are completed to meet varied regulatory and statutory requirements for local public health departments, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) hospitals, and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Although compliance is a motivating factor, these entities are committed to understanding the communities they serve and to developing strategies to address health needs and inequities in health and health care.
Background: People who lead or manage public health agencies have multiple needs for information in order to do their jobs effectively. In seeking to investigate “what works” in public health practice, investigators in the field of public health systems and services research (PHSSR) have largely overlapping information needs but often require a greater detail, specificity, or comprehensiveness than is routinely available in public health data systems.
Introduction: Resources for public health (PH) are scarce and policymakers face tough decisions in determining their funding priorities. The difficulty of making these decisions is compounded by current PH accounting systems, which are ill-equipped to link fiscal resources to PH outcomes. This paper examines the types of revenues and expenditures, health services, and health outcomes that are being tracked at the local and state PH levels.
Background: In October 2013, the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) and Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) convened a multidisciplinary group of experts to evaluate forces shaping public health informatics (PHI) in the United States, with the aim of identifying upcoming challenges and opportunities. The PHI workshop was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its larger strategic planning process for public health and primary care.
Introduction: The goal of aligning the delivery of public health and medical care services so as to achieve population-wide improvements in health status is not new. Yet the urgency to achieve greater alignment has increased as the prevalence of costly and preventable diseases and injuries grows, and as incentives for health care system redesign take hold through Affordable Care Act implementation.
Background: School systems often have the vital responsibility of protecting students during emergency situations. Collaborations with the local health department (LHD) can be invaluable in helping schools effectively fulfill this responsibility.
Purpose: An evaluation of existing organizational collaborations is needed to describe attitudes toward current efforts and to form recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of future joint programs.
Introduction: Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in children aged ≤ 2 years in the U.S. The American Academy of Pediatrics advised that children should remain in rear-facing child car seats to mitigate injury from the most common type of severe collision (frontal). Several states have passed laws following these recommendations.
Background: As the Affordable Care Act transforms the practice of both public health and health care, it also provides opportunity for both to become more closely linked through improved integration and collaboration. Yet, while public health agencies are increasingly called to work with healthcare partners to address population health needs, both public health leaders and their healthcare counterparts may not be well equipped to answer that call.
Background: Community health assessments (CHAs) are among the most core of activities conducted by local health departments (LHDs), and many LHDs have been conducting CHAs on a regular basis for years. More recently, completing a CHA has also become a prerequisite for LHDs seeking accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). Similarly, under the Affordable Care Act, tax-exempt hospitals are required to conduct periodic community health needs assessments.