Healthy People 2020 is a science-based governmental program designed to track progress on the national goals for improving public health in the United States. Interagency workgroups play a critical role in the success of Healthy People 2020. There are 42 workgroups, which represent the 42 topic areas. Interagency workgroups function as a branch of Healthy People Management, which aims to “provide leadership and a subject matter expertise for defining objectives and identifying data sources used to track them” (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2014). Therefore, interagency workgroups are one of the major pillars that create a decent foundation for this program.
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A complete overview of each Healthy People 2020 objective is available on Data 2020. This database collects all the program-related information and shares it with other sources, which then make it available for the general public. For example, the data from Data 2020 is exported to the Healthy People 2020 website. It is also provided to the HHS initiatives, the Health Indicators Warehouse, the National Prevention Strategy.
The National Center for Health Statistics provides comprehensive information on the leading health indicators, which is necessary for getting a complete overview of the situation on each topic area. The scope of Healthy People 2020 is broad. As explained on the website, there are 42 topic areas with more than 1,200 objectives (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018). There is also a smaller subset of 26 objectives called Leading Health Indicators (LHIs), which communicate high-priority health issues (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). A complete overview of each objective is available at the so-called “objective blocks,” which include:
- the objective statement – the descriptor of the indicator;
- the baseline – status for the indicator at the beginning of a decade;
- target – a benchmark for the indicator that should be met by the end of the decade;
- the target setting method;
- the source of the data;
- the link to view the data.
For each topic area, it is possible to view the “National Snapshots.” They provide “the most compelling data for the topic area, that can be readily displayed” (ODPHP, 2014). NCHS also provides visual data illustrations that reflect disparities between groups for each of the 26 leading health indicators.
The Healthy People 2020 Objectives are measured using over 200 unique data sources (both governmental and non-governmental). To keep up with the significant data coordination challenges, HPSB has developed a system that can handle data from all sources. The progress of Healthy People 2020 is measured in progress milestones. They are based on the data submitted to NCHS at various periods on a rolling basis. There have been provided progress reviews for each topic area after the launch and after the midcourse review. The last major mid-course review was in 2015, and the final evaluation will start in 2020. The measurements for each target and achievements for each goal are available online. The NCHS aims to use high-quality, accurate, and timely data for the progress reviews, which enables them to measure progress for specific objectives and identify any issues.
All in all, the data is the essential driving force for the success of Healthy People 2020 as it illustrates the trends that NCHS would not be able to identify otherwise. The data must be balanced based on the following criteria – quality, thoroughness, and timeliness. Overall, Healthy People 2020 is an accurate and timely program, which collects information from all the sources to illustrate whether the healthcare goals are being achieved.
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2014). Public health learning modules. Module 01 – Part 3: Healthy People and the National Center for Health Statistics [Video].
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Healthy People 2020: Leading health indicators. Web.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2016). Healthy People 2020: Leading health indicators. Web.