Health Care Delivery
Creating sustainable, effective linkages between the clinical and community settings can improve patients' access to preventive and chronic care services by developing partnerships between organizations that share a common goal of improving the health of people and the communities in which they live. These linkages connect clinical providers, community organizations, and public health agencies.
The goals of clinical-community linkages include:
Types of clinical-community linkages include coordinating services at one location, coordinating services between different locations, and developing ways to refer patients to resources.
Strategies that improve access to clinical preventive services (such as screening and counseling), community-level activities, and appropriate medical treatment have been shown to reduce and prevent disease in communities. Collaborations between clinical, community, and public health organizations offer a win-win scenario for participating organizations, clinical teams, and patients.
What do effective clinical-community linkages offer?
It may seem obvious to link organizations that share similar goals for groups of patients. However, primary care clinicians, public health agencies, and community groups often provide services with little interaction with each other. To build and improve linkages across private and public health organizations within communities, it is important to identify gaps in needed health services and to fill those gaps by using the strengths and abilities of the participating organizations.
AHRQ's Innovations Exchange features examples of successful clinical-community collaborations and more resources for linking clinical practices and community organizations. These resources include:
The following AHRQ Annual Conference presentations on clinical-community linkages are also available: