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Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Aug;30(8):1498-507. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2010.0461.

Public-private integrated partnerships demonstrate the potential to improve health care access, quality, and efficiency.

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  • 1Napo Pharmaceuticals, San Francisco, California, USA.


Around the world, publicly owned and run health services face challenges. In poor countries in particular, health services are characterized by such problems as inadequate infrastructure and equipment, frequent shortages of medicines and supplies, and low quality of care. Increasingly, both developed- and developing-country governments are embracing public-private partnerships to harness private financing and expertise to achieve public policy goals. An innovative form of these partnerships is the public-private integrated partnership, which goes a step further than more common hospital building and maintenance arrangements, by combining infrastructure renewal with delivery of clinical services. We describe the benefits and risks inherent in such integrated partnerships and present three case studies that demonstrate innovative design. We conclude that these partnerships have the potential to improve access, quality, and efficiency in health care. More such partnerships should be launched and rigorously evaluated, and their lessons should be widely shared to guide policy makers in the effective use of this model.

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