The Mobilizing Action for Community Health (MATCH) project proposes an incentive system that would reward improved health at the population level. Such incentives depend on metrics, but how should metrics be selected?

The essays in this issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, solicited on behalf of the MATCH project, describe the characteristics of metrics and provide advice, support, and caution regarding their selection. They characterize the ideal metrics as having the following characteristics:

  • simple, sensitive, robust, credible, impartial, actionable, and reflective of community values;
  • valid and reliable, easily understood, and accepted by those using them and being measured by them;
  • useful over time and for specific geographic, membership, or demographically defined populations;
  • verifiable independently from the entity being measured;
  • politically acceptable;
  • sensitive to change in response to factors that may influence population health during the time that inducement is offered;
  • sensitive to the level and distribution of health in a population.