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Challenges and strategies in applying performance measurement to federal public health programs


  • DeGroff, Amy
  • Schooley, Michael
  • Chapel, Thomas
  • Poister, Theodore H.


Performance measurement is widely accepted in public health as an important management tool supporting program improvement and accountability. However, several challenges impede developing and implementing performance measurement systems at the federal level, including the complexity of public health problems that reflect multiple determinants and involve outcomes that may take years to achieve, the decentralized and networked nature of public health program implementation, and the lack of reliable and consistent data sources and other issues related to measurement. All three of these challenges hinder the ability to attribute program results to specific public health program efforts. The purpose of this paper is to explore these issues in detail and offer potential solutions that support the development of robust and practical performance measures to meet the needs for program improvement and accountability. Adapting performance measurement to public health programs is both an evolving science and art. Through the strategies presented here, appropriate systems can be developed and monitored to support the production of meaningful data that will inform effective decision making at multiple levels.

Suggested Citation

  • DeGroff, Amy & Schooley, Michael & Chapel, Thomas & Poister, Theodore H., 2010. "Challenges and strategies in applying performance measurement to federal public health programs," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 365-372, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:33:y:2010:i:4:p:365-372

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schalock, Robert L. & Bonham, Gordon S., 2003. "Measuring outcomes and managing for results," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 229-235, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sobelson, Robyn K. & Young, Andrea C., 2013. "Evaluation of a federally funded workforce development program: The Centers for Public Health Preparedness," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 50-57.
    2. Rorrer, Audrey S., 2016. "An evaluation capacity building toolkit for principal investigators of undergraduate research experiences: A demonstration of transforming theory into practice," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 103-111.
    3. Antonella Cifalinò & Irene Eleonora Lisi, 2015. "La misurazione delle performance dei servizi domiciliari e residenziali tra riforme istituzionali e applicazioni locali," MECOSAN. Menagement e economia sanitaria, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(93), pages 9-32.


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