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Organizing the Public Health-clinical Health Interface: Theoretical Bases

Abstract

This article addresses the issue of the interface between public health and clinical health within the context of the search for networking approaches geared to a more integrated delivery of health services. The articulation of an operative interface is complicated by the fact that the definition of networking modalities involves complex intra- and interdisciplinary and intra- and interorganizational systems across which a new transversal dynamics of intervention practices and exchanges between service structures must be established. A better understanding of the situation is reached by shedding light on the rationale underlying the organizational methods that form the bases of the interface between these two sectors of activity. The Quebec experience demonstrates that neither the structural-functionalist approach, which emphasizes remodelling establishment structures and functions as determinants of integration, nor the structural-constructivist approach, which prioritizes distinct fields of practice in public health and clinical health, adequately serves the purpose of networking and integration. Consequently, a theoretical reframing is imperative. In this regard, structuration theory, which fosters the simultaneous study of methods of inter-structure coordination and inter-actor cooperation, paves the way for a better understanding of the situation and, in turn, to the emergence of new integration possibilities.

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Correspondence to Michèle St-Pierre.

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St-Pierre, M., Reinharz, D. & Gauthier, JB. Organizing the Public Health-clinical Health Interface: Theoretical Bases. Med Health Care Philos 9, 97–106 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-005-3602-8

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Keywords

  • health care network
  • organizational network
  • organizational theory
  • public health
  • systems interface