IOM study

A report released by an Institute of Medicine committee provides a framework for quantifying the necessity of public health interventions.

Prevention is the foundation of public health. Achieving it, however, “requires investments with benefits that might not be realized for many years,” says a new study from the Institute of Medicine.

In the report, released last week by the California Endowment, de Beaumont Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and  W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an IOM committee outlines a new, recommended framework for assessing the value of public health programs.

The report states that public health should put a greater emphasis on quantifying results measured in community benefits to overall physical and mental health, the benefits and harms of using available resources and how differences in communities affect how interventions should be tailored.

In short, public health interventions are necessary when health, well-being and process — such as life expectancy — create community benefits that supersede its monetary costs, according to the model.

“Though much remains to be learned, the framework represents a valuable step toward realizing the elusive goal of appropriately and comprehensively valuing com­munity-based prevention,” the committee points out in the brief.

Visit the institute online to read “An Integrated Framework for Assessing the Value of Community-Based Prevention.”