For those of you interested in community health outreach and prevention education, there is a new report out by the Institute of Medicine proposing a new framework for assessing the value of community-based health interventions. The report titled, An Integrated Framework for Assessing the Value of Community-Based Prevention is freely downloadable at http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2012/An-Integrated-Framework-for-Assessing-the-Value-of-Community-Based-Prevention.aspx .
In the report, the authors define what criteria an assessment framework should contain to determine its value in predicting or demonstrating future improved health outcomes. As the authors did not discover any existing framework that contained all their criteria, they developed their own framework.
The essential elements of an assessment framework recommended in the report are ones that:
• Account for benefits and harms in physical and mental health, community well-being, and community process
• Consider the cost of resources used compared to the benefits to be achieved
The new framework also suggested what could be measured to predict/determine future community health outcomes. They include quality-adjusted life years or health-adjusted life expectancy, community well-being indicators, and community process indicators, along with monetary savings.
As communities may be very different from one another with different health issues, this newly proposed framework can be used to evaluate any type of community health intervention. Lastly, the authors stress transparency of the process and results are essential to ensure the health interventions truly reflect the health needs of the community and lead to sound decision-making and expenditures of funds.
Deborah A. Clark
Health Communities COI Leader