Evidence-Based Decision Making
Module 11.0: Overview
Quality improvement and the need for evidence-based programming and policymaking continue to be a top priority for states as they work towards achieving the Healthy People 2020 objectives to improve health outcomes for women, children, and families. Generally speaking, the term “evidence” refers to information that has been systematically obtained in a manner that is replicable, observable, and verifiable. This type of evidence is often published in the scientific literature. However, there are other important domains of evidence to consider within the broad environmental and organizational context. To achieve the best possible health outcomes, the MCH workforce will need to examine experiential and contextual forms of evidence, drawing on the collective experiences and expertise of multiple stakeholders while taking into consideration the unique characteristics of their own communities.
In terms of public health interventions, evidence typically refers to the effectiveness of programs or initiatives aimed at improving the health of a population in a measurable way. The application of evidence-based public health interventions is relatively new, and yet the focus has already expanded beyond the scientific research to address practical considerations. The interventions published in the scientific literature – typically conducted in academic or research settings -- are not necessarily replicable at a local level. In community-based settings, the absence of personnel, lack of resources, financial constraints, and other concerns may pose challenges to conducting or evaluating an intervention.
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