Hospital Public Health Partnerships: Exploring Processes, Models, and Outcomes

Health care reform has resulted in changes throughout the health system, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that hospitals conduct community health needs assessments, taking into greater consideration the public health of their respective communities. This has led to growing strategies to develop partnerships between hospitals and public health (PH) as a way to meet these needs. We refer to these as Hospital Public Health partnerships.

Meantime, there is a need for data on Hospital Public Health partnerships, due to the growing emphasis that these types of partnerships get implemented in practice. In this paper we analyze a secondary data set to explore how hospitals and public health have engaged in partnerships prior to the ACA. We asked “How amenable have hospitals and public health agencies been to forming partnerships?”

We found that while Hospitals traditionally have fewer partners, contribute fewer resources, and report fewer outcomes, they tend to report high perceptions of value and more frequent, complex partnerships. The impact of these results are important to efforts to build an evidenced-based foundation by which hospital and public health personnel can develop skills to manage these complex relationships.

Keywords: public health, hospitals, partnerships, social network analysis, PARTNER Platform, Hospital Public Health Partnerships

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