Cover: A Review of Instruments Assessing Public Health Preparedness

A Review of Instruments Assessing Public Health Preparedness

Published in: Public Health Reports, v. 120, no. 5, Sep./Oct. 2005, p. 532-542

Posted on on January 01, 2005

by Steven M. Asch, Michael A. Stoto, Marc Mendes, R. Burciaga Valdez, Meghan E. Gallagher, Paul Halverson, Nicole Lurie

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to review instruments that assess the level of preparedness of state and local public health departments to respond to health threats such as bioterrorism. METHODS: The authors examined 27 published population-based instruments for planning or evaluating preparedness that were mostly unavailable in the peer-reviewed literature. Using the Essential Public Health Services framework, the instruments were evaluated for (1) clarity of measurement parameters, (2) balance between structural and process measures, (3) evidence of effectiveness, and (4) specification of an accountable entity. RESULTS: There was a great deal of overlap but little consistency in what constitutes "preparedness" or how it should be measured. Most instruments relied excessively on subjective or structural measures, lacked scientific evidence for measures assessed, and failed to clearly define what entity was accountable for accomplishing the task or function. CONCLUSION: Strategies for improvement include measure standardization, better interagency communication, and investment in public health practice research to develop the underlying evidence base required for developing quality measures and assessments.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.