NORC Final Report: Healthy People User Study. Executive Summary


In 2007, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracted with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) to conduct the 2008 Healthy People User Study. The study serves two purposes. First, it builds on findings from a similar study of Healthy People users conducted in 2005, which allows HHS to examine changes over time. Second, it informs HHS about patterns of awareness and usage of the initiative among state, local and tribal health organizations. Specifically, the results document the extent of awareness; describe the nature of use and assess whether use is changing over time; identify barriers to use among these critical audiences; and offer insight to assist in the development of the next iteration of Healthy People, Healthy People 2020. Healthy People 2020 is using current evidence and data, as well as lessons learned from Healthy People 2010, to establish new national health objectives reflective of evolving public health priorities. The process of developing Healthy People 2020 relies on input from the initiative’s key stakeholders to ensure a product that is responsive to the needs of its users. The development of Healthy People 2020 is well underway with release of the initiative’s overarching framework scheduled in 2009 and the release of health objectives planned for 2010.

The results of the 2008 Healthy People User Study provide HHS with important information on the utilization of Healthy People 2010, and for the development of Healthy People 2020. First, results of the study indicate that awareness and use of the Healthy People initiative is very high among key stakeholders, with overall use of the initiative increasing since the 2005 study. The results also show that both non-users and users of Healthy People 2010 were more likely to cite issues related to their organization/agency as a barrier to greater use of the initiative, as opposed to issues related to the Healthy People initiative itself. However, it is important to recognize that some barriers associated with the initiative itself are impacting key stakeholders’ use of the initiative, such as the lack of implementation guides. Finally, study respondents expressed distinct, and conflicting, preferences regarding the format and content of Healthy People 2020, which suggests that Healthy People is utilized by different organizations in different ways.

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