Policy and program implementation and the role of context in explaining prevention effectivenessProject title
What is the issue?
Policies and programs that can help prevent chronic disease sometimes fall short of success because they are not fully implemented or don’t reach the right people. Electronic methods for implementation monitoring and performance assessment are becoming more widely used. But do they tell the whole story? Can they explain why it is harder to achieve optimal implementation in some places but not in others?
This project explored some state-of-the-art electronic methods for collecting data about health prevention policy and program distribution; and to examine and quantify the extent to which resources and organisational capacity contribute to implementing policies and achieving targets. We aim to collate practitioner insights for ongoing practice and e-monitoring improvement.
How did the project address the issue?
The project team established a collaborative partnership with NSW Health to identify examples of monitoring systems that can help answer the following questions:
- How are policies and programs reflected in the e-monitoring of health promotion?
- What are the current best practices?
- What variation in policy and program implementation is captured across different geographic areas and contexts?
- How is policy and program “dose” or intensity defined and measured?
- What parts of the implementation and health promotion practice story are we possibly missing in current electronic monitoring systems? How can these stories be uncovered and brought to light?
The team used qualitative methods (ethnography and interviews) and quantitative methods (social network analysis) to identify and quantify factors across different regional contexts that explain experience and variation in the implementation of programs of policies.
Our case study centred around the Population Health Information and Management System (PHIMS). This IT system enables NSW Health to set up, manage and report against the aims of the Healthy Children Initiative, which targets early childcare and primary schools in NSW to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
In addition to working with the health sector, the team wanted to identify examples from other sectors – such as education, justice and community services – that could help inform best practices for health policy and practice monitoring and implementation.
Relevance for practice
The project provided insights to enhance the scope and sensitivity of methods used to track policy and program distribution, thereby making the tracking systems (for accountability) more accurate and useful. It will increase the likelihood that prevention will be more effective and sustained by making practice more visible and supported.
What were the outcomes?
The data gathered during this project are informing the development of electronic program monitoring systems in NSW and are expected to lead to improvements to the system.
For more information on this project, please visit our external website.
News and media
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