NORC Final Report: Healthy People User Study. Monitoring progress

03/28/2010

In addition to questions on current use of Healthy People 2010, the 2008 User Study sought to identify whether and how organizations/agencies assessed progress towards their own objectives as well as whether user organizations/agencies anticipated conducting final assessments at the end of the decade. There was variation among respondent types’ likelihood of measuring changes in health behaviors or outcomes related to the use of Healthy People 2010. Chronic Disease Directors reported the highest likelihood of efforts to measure change at 89 percent. This is followed by HP Coordinators at 74 percent, tribal health organizations at 60 percent, MTAHB at 57 percent and local health organizations at 50 percent. Exhibit 16 shows the different methods users employed to measure changes in outcomes and behaviors related to the use of Healthy People 2010 at the organization/agency. For state and local health organizations the most common method of measuring change was conducting an evaluation of trends, using existing data on health outcomes. MTAHB and tribal health organizations used the collection and evaluation of new data on health outcomes to measure changes in behavior or outcomes. MTAHB also reported using the collection and assessment of qualitative data, such as case studies and focus groups, to measure change.

  HP Coordinators (n=43) Chronic Disease Directors (n=44) Multi-Tribal Area Health Boards (n=7) Tribal Health Organizations (n=15) Local Health Organizations (n=144) Total (n=252)

Exhibit 16: Methods of Measuring Change

Collection and evaluation of new data on health outcomes 23% 39% 57% 47% 25% 29%
Collection and assessment of qualitative data 2% 7% 57% 27% 8% 10%
Evaluation of trends in existing data 44% 77% 43% 40% 33% 44%

The survey also asked respondents if their organizations/agencies conducted assessments of the achievement of program goals related to Healthy People 2010 objectives and targets. Over 70 percent of MTAHB and 60 percent of state organizations conduct such assessments, while only 47 percent of tribal health organizations and 42 percent of local health organizations conducted these assessments. Of the Healthy People 2010 users who conducted assessments of the achievement of program goals related to Healthy People 2010 objectives and targets, 100 percent of MTAHB, 89 percent of HP Coordinators and Chronic Disease Directors, 86 percent of tribal health organizations, and 75 percent of local health organizations found that progress toward the program goals was made (Exhibit 17). In terms of specific areas of progress, respondents were most likely to mention improvements in the areas of tobacco use, oral health, nutrition and fitness, and childhood immunization services.


Exhibit 17: Proportion Measuring Progress towards Program Goals, among Those Measuring Change

Exhibit 17 is a bar chart showing the percent of HP Coordinators, Chronic Disease Directors, MTAHB, Tribal Health Organizations, and Local Health Organizations that have measured progress towards program goals (of those who measure change) (among users of Healthy People 2010).

Exhibit 17 is a bar chart showing the percent of HP Coordinators, Chronic Disease Directors, MTAHB, Tribal Health Organizations, and Local Health Organizations that have measured progress towards program goals (of those who measure change) (among users of Healthy People 2010).


Respondents were asked whether their organization/agency planned to conduct a final assessment of progress toward objectives at the end of the decade. Forty-one percent of users did not know if their organizations/agencies would be conducting a final assessment of the achievement of program goals, while 27 percent expect to conduct a final assessment and 29 percent do not.

When asked for suggestions of ways HHS could encourage more progress toward the goals and objectives of Healthy People 2010, respondents most commonly recommended increasing funding, with an emphasis on provision of increased staff resources. Many also suggested greater guidance at the local level. In addition, several respondents requested that HHS provide more technical assistance and data analysis tools to facilitate reporting. Finally, organizations/agencies indicated they would also benefit from the dissemination of best practice guidelines and examples of programs that have been particularly successful.

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