Local Health Department

The Local Health Department (LHD) is a government agency responsible for many different aspects of public health. What is public health? "Public health is 'What we as a society do collectively to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy.' "(United). Local Health Departments are responsible for many things. Some of the responsibilities of the Local Health Department are communicable/infectious disease surveillance, child immunization provision, food service establishment inspection, environmental health surveillance, and tuberculosis treatment just to name a few.

With an estimated 2,800 local health departments across the United States they are located in or near major cities, counties, metropolitan areas, and other large sectors. With it only being a local government agency they answer to county commission, the mayor, county board, or a city council. Each LHD is responsible for collaborating with there local government to determine what their clinical care role is and what primary care services they are to provide. These services can range from simple immunizations and/or include testing and treatment for communicable diseases.

With the use of EHRs and HIEs being able to help track and manage public health, HIT plays a big role in the Local Health Department. LHDs can use the advancements in HIT to help with the detecting, tracking, and reporting of disease outbreaks. The use of other systems, such as a clinical data warehouse, allows the Local Health Department to analyze the health data to find patterns of public health in the local and surrounding areas. This analysis helps the LHD come up with creating and developing local health policies and local health standards.

Web Resources:

Related Terms:
  • State Health Agencies
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Association of City and CountyHealth Officials (NACCHO)

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