The aim of the survey was to gain insight into the importance that decision makers attached to different types of information when making decisions to invest in preventative health interventions.
The survey elicited decision makers' opinions on the importance of a list of over 40 different types of information identified through the literature review and stakeholder workshop, including:
- Overall impacts (e.g. impact on health, impact on education).
- Impacts on different groups (e.g. different age groups, different genders).
- Impacts on access (e.g. convenience of access, waiting times).
- Outcomes at different times (e.g. outcomes at 2 years, outcomes at 5 years).
- Directness of effects (e.g. direct effects on those targeted, indirect effects on others).
- Proportion benefiting (e.g. incidence of health problem, prevalence of health problem).
- Feasibility (e.g. time required to deliver, skills required to deliver).
- Costs (e.g. cost to healthcare providers, future healthcare costs).
To ensure that there were no geographical limitations to participation, and that it did not place a considerable burden on busy individuals, the survey was hosted online and could be completed within ten minutes. Click to download screenshots from the survey.
The first page of the survey explained the purpose of the survey, provided links to the Health England website and provided contact details for any queries. It also provided assurance of confidentiality and reminded respondents that their views were being gathered and that there were therefore no right or wrong answers. Information on respondent's occupation, employer and position in the organisation were all collected.
The remaining questions asked respondents to rate the importance of different information when making an investment decision. The standard question used was:
In your professional capacity, if you were trying to decide whether to invest in a preventative health or social care intervention, how important would the following information be?
A five-point rating scale was provided. This scale was presented horizontally and consisted of (from left-to-right): very important; fairly important; not very important; not at all important; and don't know.
To ensure that respondents answered from a professional perspective they were first required to rate three additional types of information from a personal perspective. The need to answer the remaining questions in a professional capacity was then emphasised.
The different types of information being rated were organised thematically according to those categories presented above.
Respondents were given the opportunity to specify any types of information they might also consider that weren't presented in the survey.
Respondents were encouraged to take part online through a series of e-mails. Those invited to participate included:
- Healthcare: Chief Executives, Directors of Public Health, and Directors in charge of commissioning from every Primary Care Trust (PCT), and the Chief Executives and Directors of Public Health from every Strategic Health Authority.
- Social care: the Directors of Social Services (Adult, Child and Joint) from every Local Authority (LA).
At the request of Health England a number of more central bodies were also approached including Commission for Social Care Inspection (now part of Care Quality Commission) and the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. Where contact details were available on public websites these were used. Telephone calls were made to the bodies concerned when contact details were not available via the internet.
Over 700 senior figures in health and social care received e-mails requesting their help, from which 83 surveys were completed. A series of invitations and reminders were sent by e-mail, with a deadline for responses three weeks after the survey was first available online.
To encourage participation, a donation of £2.50 was promised to a charity (Comic Relief) for every survey completed by the deadline. This was introduced retrospectively at the reminder stage, for all of those that had already been completed and all of those that would be completed in the future.
So that views could be gathered widely, participants were allowed to forward the survey link to relevant colleagues.
Overall, the majority of respondents were from the healthcare sector (77%) with a small number from social care (19%) or joint health and social care (4%). A large proportion of respondents were Directors or Executive Directors (43%) with responses from some Chief Executives (13%). The remaining respondents performed a wide variety of roles at PCT and Local Authority level, as well as more centrally.
You can download the results of the survey in PDF format by clicking the link:
HE_Survey_Results.pdf (483.74 kb)
The survey provided valuable insight into the types of information that are considered by decision makers when making investment decisions. The following information was identified as being particularly important to decision makers:
- The effects on those targeted by the intervention.
- The effects achieved in the first 2 years post intervention.
- The effect on future healthcare expenditure.
- The number of people that will benefit from the intervention.
- The effect on different groups of people.
- Budget implications.
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