Factors Affecting Evidence-Based Decision Making In Local Health Departments

Participants at meeting sitting around a table in a conference room.

Participants in this study of New York local health departments (LHDs) support evidence-based decision-making and its use, but indicate it's used unevenly throughout its department.

The Issue: Evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) can be an effective tool for local health departments (LDHs). To better understand EBDM use, this study examines the use of EBDM in New York LHDs.

Key Findings

  • While participants supported EBDM and its use, many indicated that EBDM was used unevenly throughout its department.

  • Factors associated with EBDM included strong leadership; workforce capacity; resources; funding and program mandates; political support; and access to data and program models suitable to community conditions.

Conclusion: LHDs in New York inconsistently use EBDM. While LHDs have knowledge of and are interested in, issues such as capacity, resources, and programming impede EBDM use.

About the Study: The New York Public Health Practice-Based Research Network used a mixed-methods study in 31 LHDs in New York. Among decision-makers in LHDs, 20 individual interviews, five small-group interviews, and two focus groups were conducted. Data was collected from June to November 2010.