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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

Measuring the Impact of Public Health Programs
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Health statistics can also be used to measure the impact of public health programs.
  • They show the changes that occur when prevention programs promote better health practices, reduce risky behaviors or change life styles.
    • For example, SAMHSA has estimated the prevalence of depression.
  • Because health statistics track the incidence and prevalence of health conditions as they also track related behaviors they can help public health officials design more effective programs.

Planning for the Use of Health Resources and Services
Statistics about health services are used to analyze alternatives for service utilization.
  • Health planners rely on them as they allocate resources for costly equipment. [See this site for an example.]
  • Hospital administrators use them to decide on investments to meet emerging needs for care. [See this site that has resources for this purpose.]
  • Congress and OMB use them to judge the need for public expenditures in support of health services
  • Private organizations such as the Kaiser Family Foundation provide information and analysis on this topic.

Surveillance of Emerging Threats
Health trends help care givers spot new developments, track emerging threats—such as epidemics or endemic conditions and identify new diseases—such as AIDS.  They can be important weapons in the response to biological attacks. For example, these indicators are a critical part of the plan to mitigate the impact of emerging infectious diseases.
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