Orginally published Jan. 17, 2012
Recently, 64 representatives from all 18 health districts including nurses, case managers, clinicians, communicable disease specialists and program consultants gathered with CDC staff in Macon for the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) annual Program Collaboration and Service Integration (PCSI) Conference. For two days, November 29-30, participants attended sessions with the goal to ensure that Georgians receive the best preventive service and treatment possible whenever they interact with providers of Public Health services.
Staff from many DPH program areas, including the STD, TB, HIV, Refugee Health, Family Planning and Immunization offices attended the conference to learn how program collaboration and service integration can directly benefit DPH programs.
PCSI aims to maximize the health benefits that individuals receive from prevention services through increasing service efficiency by combining, streamlining, and enhancing prevention services; maximizing opportunities to screen, test, treat, or vaccinate those in need of these services; improving the health of populations negatively affected by multiple diseases; and enabling service providers to adapt to and keep pace with changes in diseases epidemiology and new technologies.
“The DPH programs will benefit from increased communication between different programs,” said Ann Poole, PHSO Nurse Consultant, TB office, DPH. “Program staff will have a better understanding of how our mutual patients are managed in the different clinics.”
Program collaboration involves a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship between two or more programs, organizations, or organizational units to achieve common goals, while service integration provides persons with seamless comprehensive services from multiple programs without repeated registration procedures, waiting periods, or other administrative barriers.
For many staff members, additional skill development will be important because many have been trained in or have worked in only one or two areas. For example, HIV-prevention workers will need to become knowledgeable about STD, viral hepatitis, and TB testing, treatment and vaccination services. These additional skills will allow the client, who may have come to the clinic just for HIV prevention services, to receive related services across program areas from one service provider.
“No matter the initial point of access into the Public Health system, Georgians who participate in DPH programs across the state, or who visit Public Health clinics for health services, will have the benefit of increased staff knowledge for referrals and co-managed care between programs,” said Poole.
Many program attendees expressed through conference evaluations their enjoyment and appreciation of the conference. “This great conference should be reproduced for Health Directors over the state,” commented one participant.
Overall, attendees expressed their desire to attend the conference annually as a way to stay connected to their colleagues and learn how to increase collaboration and communication across programs and services.
To view photos from the conference, please click here.