Evaluation of a national surveillance unit.
AIM: The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) facilitates national active surveillance of uncommon childhood conditions. This study assessed whether it fulfilled its objectives and satisfied criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for evaluating surveillance systems. METHODS: Anonymous questionnaires were sent to users of the system, individual studies were reviewed, and data were collected from independent sources. RESULTS: Seven hundred and sixty six clinicians, 48 investigators, and 15 public health professionals responded to the questionnaires. Clinicians reported that the APSU was useful, 33% saying information provided by the APSU informed or changed their clinical practice. Most (88%) reported that completing monthly report cards was not a burden. Impact on policy development was limited by suboptimal dissemination of information to public health professionals. Flexibility and timeliness were limited by design. Estimated sensitivity of APSU studies ranged from 92% (congenital rubella) to 31% (drowning/near drowning). Positive predictive value of notified cases was over 70% for most studies. CONCLUSION: The APSU fulfils most of its objectives and meets CDC criteria salient to these. Ways in which the APSU could be improved have been identified, as have methodological challenges and limitations in applying CDC guidelines to this type of unit. (+info)
Nationwide implementation of guided supermarket tours in The Netherlands: a dissemination study.
The purpose of this study was to assess adoption, implementation and maintenance of a guided supermarket tour program of nutrition education by Dutch Public Health Services (PHSs), and the factors associated with program dissemination. A first questionnaire was sent to all 60 PHSs, and measured program adoption, perceived program attributes, and characteristics of the adopting organization and person. A second questionnaire was only sent to adopting PHSs, and measured extent and success of implementation, intentions to continue the program, and characteristics of the main implementing person. Of the 59 PHSs who responded, 30 adopted the program and 17 implemented it sufficiently. Perceived program complexity, social influence within the PHS toward program participation and existence of a separate health education department were predictors of adoption. Perceived program complexity was also a predictor of extent of implementation. The number of health educators within each PHS was a predictor of sufficient implementation. It was concluded that adoption and implementation of the program was reasonable, considering the limited dissemination strategy. Dissemination might have been more successful if the program had been less complex and required less effort, if positive social influence had been generated, and if specific attention had been given to PHSs without a separate health education department. (+info)
Assessing public health capacity to support community-based heart health promotion: the Canadian Heart Health Initiative, Ontario Project (CHHIOP).
This paper presents initial findings of the Canadian Heart Health Initiative, Ontario Project (CHHIOP). CHHIOP has two primary objectives. The programmatic objective is to coordinate and refine a system for supporting effective, sustained community-based heart health activities. This paper addresses the scientific objective: to develop knowledge of factors that influence the development of predisposition and capacity to undertake community-based heart health activities in public health departments. A systems theory framework for an ecological approach to health promotion informs the conceptualization of the key constructs, measured using a two-stage longitudinal design which combines quantitative and qualitative methods. This paper reports the results of the first round of quantitative survey data collected from all health departments in Ontario (N = 42) and individuals within each health department involved in heart health promotion (n = 262). Results indicate low levels of implementation of heart health activities, both overall and for particular risk factors and settings. Levels of capacity are also generally low, yet predisposition to undertake heart health promotion activities is reportedly high. Analyses show that implementation is positively related to capacity but not predisposition, while predisposition and capacity are positively related. Overall, results suggest predisposition is a necessary but not sufficient condition for implementation to occur; capacity-related factors appear to be the primary constraint. These findings are used to inform strategies to address CHHIOP's programmatic objective. (+info)
Integrated management of childhood illness: a summary of first experiences.
The strategy of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) aims to reduce child mortality and morbidity in developing countries by combining improved management of common childhood illnesses with proper nutrition and immunization. The strategy includes interventions to improve the skills of health workers, the health system, and family and community practices. This article describes the experience of the first countries to adopt and implement the IMCI interventions, the clinical guidelines dealing with the major causes of morbidity and mortality in children, and the training package on these guidelines for health workers in first-level health facilities. The most relevant lessons learned and how these lessons have served as a basis for developing a broader IMCI strategy are described. (+info)
Evaluating the public health impact of health promotion interventions: the RE-AIM framework.
Progress in public health and community-based interventions has been hampered by the lack of a comprehensive evaluation framework appropriate to such programs. Multilevel interventions that incorporate policy, environmental, and individual components should be evaluated with measurements suited to their settings, goals, and purpose. In this commentary, the authors propose a model (termed the RE-AIM model) for evaluating public health interventions that assesses 5 dimensions: reach, efficacy, adoption, implementation, and maintenance. These dimensions occur at multiple levels (e.g., individual, clinic or organization, community) and interact to determine the public health or population-based impact of a program or policy. The authors discuss issues in evaluating each of these dimensions and combining them to determine overall public health impact. Failure to adequately evaluate programs on all 5 dimensions can lead to a waste of resources, discontinuities between stages of research, and failure to improve public health to the limits of our capacity. The authors summarize strengths and limitations of the RE-AIM model and recommend areas for future research and application. (+info)
Framework for program evaluation in public health.
Effective program evaluation is a systematic way to improve and account for public health actions by involving procedures that are useful, feasible, ethical, and accurate. The framework guides public health professionals in their use of program evaluation. It is a practical, nonprescriptive tool, designed to summarize and organize essential elements of program evaluation. The framework comprises steps in program evaluation practice and standards for effective program evaluation. Adhering to the steps and standards of this framework will allow an understanding of each program's context and will improve how program evaluations are conceived and conducted. Furthermore, the framework encourages an approach to evaluation that is integrated with routine program operations. The emphasis is on practical, ongoing evaluation strategies that involve all program stakeholders, not just evaluation experts. Understanding and applying the elements of this framework can be a driving force for planning effective public health strategies, improving existing programs, and demonstrating the results of resource investments. (+info)
Controlled management of public relations following a public health incident.
This paper describes the management of public relations following an outbreak of multidrug resistant TB at a London hospital. Eight patients were involved, all of the secondary cases occurred in HIV seropositive patients, and three cases died. The paper describes how the the Incident Committee undertook to recall contacts of the cases for screening, inform the general practitioners of all of the contacts about their patients' exposure, warn other organizations and professionals interested or involved in the management of HIV in the London area as to the nature of the incident, and establish a helpline, before informing a wider audience through the EPINET, Communicable Disease Report and national press. (+info)
Evaluating computerized health information systems: hardware, software and human ware: experiences from the Northern Province, South Africa.
Despite enormous investment world-wide in computerized health information systems their overall benefits and costs have rarely been fully assessed. A major new initiative in South Africa provides the opportunity to evaluate the introduction of information technology from a global perspective and assess its impact on public health. The Northern Province is implementing a comprehensive integrated hospital information system (HIS) in all of its 42 hospitals. These include two mental health institutions, eight regional hospitals (two acting as a tertiary complex with teaching responsibilities) and 32 district hospitals. The overall goal of the HIS is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health (and welfare) services through the creation and use of information, for clinical, administrative and monitoring purposes. This multi-site implementation is being undertaken as a single project at a cost of R130 million (which represents 2.5 per cent of the health and welfare budget on an annual basis). The implementation process commenced on 1 September 1998 with the introduction of the system into Mankweng Hospital as the pilot site and is to be completed in the year 2001. An evaluation programme has been designed to maximize the likelihood of success of the implementation phase (formative evaluation) as well as providing an overall assessment of its benefits and costs (summative evaluation). The evaluation was designed as a form of health technology assessment; the system will have to prove its worth (in terms of cost-effectiveness) relative to other interventions. This is more extensive than the traditional form of technical assessment of hardware and software functionality, and moves into assessing the day-to-day utility of the system, the clinical and managerial environment in which it is situated (humanware), and ultimately its effects on the quality of patient care and public health. In keeping with new South African legislation the evaluation process sought to involve as many stakeholders as possible at the same time as creating a methodologically rigorous study that lived within realistic resource limits. The design chosen for the summative assessment was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in which 24 district hospitals will receive the HIS either early or late. This is the first attempt to carry out an RCT evaluation of a multi-site implementation of an HIS in the world. Within this design the evaluation will utilize a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques over varying time scales, each addressing specific aims of the evaluation programme. In addition, it will attempt to provide an overview of the general impact on people and organizations of introducing high-technology solutions into a relatively unprepared environment. The study should help to stimulate an evaluation culture in the health and welfare services in the Northern Province as well as building the capacity to undertake such evaluations in the future. (+info)