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Management Practices to Build Evidence-Based Decision-Making Capacity for Chronic Disease Prevention in Georgia: A Case Study
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    30004862
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6053922
  • Description:
    Background

    Research shows that training can improve skills needed for evidence-based decision making, but less is known about instituting organizational supports to build capacity for evidence-based chronic disease prevention.

    Community Context

    The objectives of this case study were to assess facilitators and challenges of applying management practices to support evidence-based decision making in chronic disease prevention programs in the public health system in Georgia through key informant interviews and quantitatively test for changes in perceived management practices and skills through a pre–post survey.

    Methods

    Leadership of the chronic disease prevention section hosted a multiday training, provided regular supplemental training, restructured the section and staff meetings, led and oversaw technical assistance with partners, instituted transparent performance-based contracting, and made other changes. A 65-item online survey measured perceived importance of skills and the availability of skilled staff, organizational supports, and use of research evidence at baseline (2014) and in 2016 (after training). A structured interview guide asked about management practices, context, internal and external facilitators and barriers, and recommendations.

    Capacity-Building Activities and Survey Findings

    Seventy-four staff members and partners completed both surveys (70.5% response). Eleven participants also completed a 1-hour telephone interview. Interview participants deemed leadership support and implementation of multiple concurrent management practices key facilitators to increase capacity. Main challenges included competing priorities, lack of political will, and receipt of requests counter to evidence-based approaches. At posttest, health department staff had significantly reduced gaps in skills overall (10-item sum) and in 4 of 10 individual skills, and increased use of research evidence to justify interventions. Use of research evidence for evaluation, but not skills, increased among partners.

    Interpretation

    The commitment of leaders with authority to establish multiple management practices to help staff members learn and apply evidence-based decision-making processes is key to increased use of evidence-based chronic disease prevention to improve population health.

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