Assessment of the Uses and Users of Healthier US and Healthy People 2010. Conclusions

09/01/2005

As the results from the survey and follow-up interviews demonstrate, HealthierUS and HP2010 are visible initiatives with a diverse set of users and applications for use. The findings indicate that tribes and smaller health organizations are less likely to use the initiatives, however these types of organizations are also frequently behind larger organizations on the program development continuum. This implies that while current levels of HealthierUS and HP2010 awareness and use are low among tribal and small organizations, opportunities will arise for adoption of the initiatives as the organizations continue to develop their capacity to implement programs that cross specific disease and behavior areas like HealthierUS and HP2010.

Non-users of the initiative cited a lack of information as one of the leading barriers to implementing the initiatives at their organization. HHS can improve outreach to non-users and those in the early implementation stage by providing information on the initiatives and the work that has been conducted to date at HHS, state, local, and tribal health organizations. Findings indicate that most respondents prefer electronic information. By collaborating with state health departments, national organizations like the American Diabetes Association, and professional networks like the National Association of County and City Health Officials, HHS can ensure that links to the HealthierUS and HP2010 programs are found throughout the disease prevention and health promotion field.

Along with funding, the other commonly cited barrier by users and non-users alike was the lack of implementation materials and tools available. Without a funding stream, most key user groups lack the resources necessary to translate the initiative into action. Users expressed significant interest in a variety of methods to share best practices, tools, and implementation experiences. Tools as basic as a directory of contacts at HHS and state and local governments or as complex as media promotion templates and data collection instruments will serve the purposes of both new and experienced users. Respondents also expressed interest in seeing both formal program evaluations and basic reports of program implementation examples from state, local, and tribal users.

Both initiatives are used for a wide variety of purposes by the key user groups, including collaboration and outreach, and for internal organizational planning. Users see value in both initiatives, frequently capitalizing on the broader nature of HealthierUS to integrate the many program offices where more decentralized users are implementing activities to meet the specific health objectives put forth in HP2010. However, many users seized the opportunity in the open-ended questions on the survey and telephone interview to suggest greater integration between the initiatives. Respondents were unclear about how to prioritize the scare resources at their organizations to make progress toward meeting the disease prevention and health promotion goals housed among the different HHS initiatives

Current users are making good faith efforts to implement the HealthierUS and HP2010 initiatives. However, they admit to needing assistance. Understanding that a direct funding mechanism may not be an option for HHS, users suggested that HHS could use its resources and influence to increase the exposure of the initiatives to other key stakeholders and potential funders. The lack of widespread awareness of HealthierUS as a new initiative, and a perceived loss of focus on HP2010 provide HHS with an opportunity for outreach to groups like the National Governors Association, state legislatures, and major healthcare organizations like HMOs and the AMA.

As the survey findings demonstrate, users appreciated the initiatives, their purpose, and their potential. These key user groups are constrained by resource shortages at their organizations, but as their responses and participation in this study demonstrate, they are also willing to work with HHS to encourage greater implementation of HealthierUS and HP2010. The results of this study provide evidence of the potential for collaboration and identify opportunities to initiate these partnerships with the key user groups.

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