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Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research

An RWJF Collection

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Evaluating Use of Custom Survey Reports by Local Health Departments


Providing survey feedback, like comparative reports, to survey respondents can result in improvement activities.

The Issue:

For each of the past three years (2010-2013), the North Carolina Institute for Public Health (NCIPH) has invited local health departments (LHDs) from 40 states to participate in a preparedness capacities survey. In addition, NCIPH fielded a 6-question evaluation survey to a subset of LHDs (n=70) to determine how LHDs use these reports. LHDs that reported using their custom reports compared their preparedness capacities to other LHDs, conducted strategic planning (e.g., benchmarking, setting preparedness goals), planned staff trainings, and disseminated the report both internally and to external preparedness partners.


'Through evaluation of custom report use, the researchers have found that survey feedback is a valuable part of a participatory research approach that promotes and encourages discussion, motivates improvement, and provides opportunities to identify potential solutions relevant to both researchers and LHDs.