CDC's Prevention Status Reports: Monitoring the Status of Public Health Policies and Practices for Improved Performance and Accountability

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Abstract

Context:

Increasing the adoption and implementation of evidence-based policies and practices is a key strategy for improving public health. Although there is widespread agreement about the importance of implementing evidence-based public health policies and practices, there are gaps between what has been shown to be effective and what is implemented at the state level.

Objective:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Prevention Status Reports (PSRs), a performance measurement system, to highlight evidence-based public health policies and practices and catalyze state performance and quality improvement efforts across the nation.

Design:

CDC selected a set of 10 topics representing some of the most important public health challenges in the nation. Stakeholders, including state health departments and other partners, helped conceptualize the PSRs and informed the development of the PSR framework, which provides an organizational structure for the system. CDC subject matter experts developed criteria for selecting policies and practices, indicators for each policy and practice, and a criteria-based rating system for each indicator.

Participants and Setting:

The PSRs were developed for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Main Outcome:

The PSRs were developed and serve as a performance measurement system for monitoring the adoption, reach, and implementation fidelity of evidence-based public health policies and practices nationwide.

Results:

The PSRs include 33 policy and practice indicators across the 10 health topics. They use a simple 3-level rating system—green, yellow, and red—to report the extent to which each state (and the District of Columbia) has implemented the policy or practice in accordance with supporting evidence or expert recommendations. Results from aggregate analyses show positive change or improvement.

Conclusion:

The PSRs are a unique part of CDC's work to improve the performance and accountability of the public health system, serving as both a monitoring tool and a call to action to improve health outcomes. The PSRs can be used to track the reach of and fidelity to evidence-based policies and practices nationally over time, as well as inform state efforts to improve their use of evidence-based policies and practice.

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