[This article was originally published in Healthcare Policy / Politiques de Santé, Volume 4, Number 3.]

The quest for greater efficiency in health systems encourages governments to bring together two fields of practice that have largely developed in parallel in industrialized countries: public health and healthcare. Current healthcare reform in the province of Quebec formally integrates these two fields within a common governance structure. The objective of this paper is to discuss the issues arising from the integration of public health services into the planning and delivery of local healthcare services, and its potential effect on the overall performance of the healthcare system. The authors begin by describing the characteristics of these two sectors; then, they discuss current reforms in Quebec and the impact of various transitions (epidemiological, technological and organizational) that bring the sectors into greater convergence. The paper concludes with a discussion of obstacles and potential opportunities at two levels: (a) the development of population-based planning of services within healthcare organizations, and (b) the articulation of public health and healthcare services concerns at the local level. The ongoing reform in Quebec is a unique opportunity to maximize outcomes from the resources invested in the healthcare system, based on a collective vision for improving health.

This paper was originally published in French, in the journal Pratiques et organisation des soins 39(2): 113-24.