The 2008 User Study provides an updated snapshot of awareness and use of Healthy People 2010 three-quarters of the way through the decade, allowing for an assessment of whether use is changing over time; identifying barriers to use of Healthy People 2010 among state, local and tribal health organizations; and offering insight to assist HHS in preparing the next iteration of national health objectives, Healthy People 2020. In synthesizing the key findings of this study, eight conclusions were identified:
- Awareness and use of Healthy People has grown over time, but there continues to be a need for targeted efforts directed toward local and tribal health organizations.
- The vast majority of Healthy People 2010 users do not utilize the initiative as a guide for setting spending priorities at their organizations. Rather, spending priorities are determined by available funding mechanisms, which may not be aligned with Healthy People goals. Efforts to align Healthy People goals and funding resources for state, local, and tribal health organizations may help overcome this barrier
- User groups utilize Healthy People differently and for different purposes. These variations indicate that there may be opportunity for expanded use of the initiative as users learn of other users’ Healthy People activities. The variations also indicate there is a continued need for targeted outreach efforts to support continued expansion of Healthy People utilization.
- Barriers to use or increased use of Healthy People are primarily attributed to organizations/agencies, rather than the Healthy People initiative itself. This distinction may be useful when developing outreach efforts to encourage greater use of the initiative.
- The lack of implementation guidelines is the leading barrier to use among non-users of Health People. The extent of this barrier shows an important need that is not being fulfilled by the initiative.
- In addition to outreach to tribal health organizations, MTAHB’s appear to be an effective avenue for communication with tribal health organizations.
- Chronic Disease Directors have similar levels of awareness and use of Healthy People as HP Coordinators, indicating that Federal outreach to states is effective and extends beyond HP Coordinators.
- To further improve Healthy People and its usability, Healthy People 2020 should include implementation guides and evidence-based practices, and HHS should increase communication with stakeholders to ensure users are aware of the complete spectrum of uses of Healthy People (rather than users continuing to use Healthy People only in the ways previously established by their organization/agency).