Information for State Health Policy

Field of Work: state health policy development

Problem Synopsis: To make informed health policy decisions, those responsible for state health programs and policies need appropriate tools, including data collection and analytic capability. Yet, the quality and sophistication of these tools vary from state to state, with even the most advanced states showing weaknesses in health statistics.

Synopsis of the Work: Information for State Health Policy was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program charged with improving the capacity of state health statistics systems to support policymaking, as well as aiding in program development and management.

The projects funded under this program assessed states' health policy needs, established plans and set priorities to meet those needs and improved the states' health statistics infrastructure.

Key Findings

  • Mathematica Policy Research, Washington conducted an evaluation of the program. It found that all the states made concrete improvements in the data available to support policymaking, though the breadth and depth of progress varied across the states as did the closeness of the link between data enhancements and policy deliberations.

    States were more successful in making concrete improvements in their data and in shifting the orientation of their staff than in establishing formal structures to maintain an inter-agency process.

    All but one of the states funded in a second round of grantmaking succeeded in extending the Information for State Health Policy entity, or at least key staff and functions, beyond the RWJF grant.