Linkages between clinical practices and community organizations for prevention: a literature review and environmental scan

Am J Prev Med. 2012 Jun;42(6 Suppl 2):S163-71. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.03.018.


Context: A literature review and environmental scan were conducted to develop a framework for interventions that utilize linkages between clinical practices and community organizations for the delivery of preventive services, and to identify and characterize these efforts.

Evidence acquisition: A search was made of four major health services and social science electronic databases and an Internet search was conducted to identify examples of linkage interventions in the areas of tobacco cessation, obesity, nutrition, and physical activity.

Evidence synthesis: In all, 49 interventions were identified, of which 18 examples described their evaluation methods or reported any intervention outcomes. Few conducted evaluations that were rigorous enough to capture changes in intermediate or long-term health outcomes. Outcomes in these evaluations were primarily patient-focused and did not include organizational or linkage characteristics.

Conclusions: An attractive option to increase the delivery of preventive services is to link primary care practices to community organizations; evidence is not yet conclusive, however, that such linkage interventions are effective. Findings provide recommendations to researchers and organizations that fund research, and call for a framework and metrics to study linkage interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Preventive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Preventive Medicine*