NORC Final Report: Healthy People User Study. Key Findings


Overall, 91 percent of the responding organizations/agencies were aware of the initiative. This percentage shows an increase from the 83 percent who were aware of the initiative during the 2005 User Assessment. Of the 327 organizations/agencies that were aware of Healthy People 2010, 78 percent reported using it in their organization/agency. This is an increase from the 71 percent of organizations/agencies that reported use of the initiative in the previous study; though not a statistically significant increase.

Users of Healthy People 2010 indicated the various ways in which their organization/agencies use the initiative. Some of the highlights of these uses are listed below:

  • Over 81 percent of users in each sample type reported using Healthy People 2010 as a data source, to support applications for grants or funding, and as a framework for planning, goal-setting and agenda building.
  • The data revealed variation between respondent types pertaining to the aspect of the initiative that is most useful. State level respondents cited the specific health objectives, MTAHB respondents reported leading health indicators, tribal health organization respondents cited the overarching goals, and local health organization respondents indicated data resources and the leading health indicators to be the most useful aspect of Healthy People 2010.
  • Eighty percent of tribal health organizations reported intentionally planning programs around one or more of the Healthy People 2010 objectives. This was substantially higher for the other Healthy People 2010 respondent types.

Study respondents also provided information on barriers to using Healthy People 2010:

  • In terms of barriers related to the Healthy People initiative, the most commonly reported barrier by users of Healthy People 2010 was lack of data to track objectives (32 percent).
  • In terms of barriers related to the respondent’s organization/agency, insufficient resources was the most commonly cited barrier (76 percent).
  • Almost 60 percent of non-users indicated that a lack of implementation guidance was a barrier to greater use of Healthy People 2010.
  • Notably, the proportion of respondents reporting each type of barrier greatly decreased from 2005.

Finally, to inform the development of Healthy People 2020, study respondents were asked various questions about ways to improve the Healthy People initiative, and their anticipated uses of Healthy People 2020:

  • Overall, 47 percent of Healthy People 2010 users felt that fewer focus areas should be included in Healthy People 2020.
  • Overall, 70 69 percent of Healthy People 2010 users indicated that a reorganization of Healthy People would be useful for the next iteration. When asked which format for organizing objectives would be most useful, 37 percent of Healthy People 2010 users felt it would be most useful to reorganize by risks/determinants (such as tobacco use, genetics, physical environment), 31 30 percent felt it would be most useful to reorganize by disease area, and 12 percent felt it would be most useful to reorganize by life stages.
  • Overall, Healthy People 2010 users reported that they are most likely to use Healthy People 2020 as a framework for planning, goal-setting or decision making (79 percent).
  • Healthy People 2010 users report that they are least likely to use Healthy People 2020 as a guide to set spending priorities within their organization (42 percent).

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