Patterns and correlates of mis-implementation in state chronic disease public health practice in the United States

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Background: Much of the disease burden in the United States is preventable through application of existing knowledge. State-level public health practitioners are in ideal positions to affect programs and policies related to chronic disease, but the extent to which mis-implementation occurring with these programs is largely unknown. Mis-implementation refers to ending effective programs and policies prematurely or continuing ineffective ones. Methods: A 2018 comprehensive survey assessing the extent of mis-implementation and multi-level influences on mis-implementation was reported by state health departments (SHDs). Questions were developed from previous literature. Surveys were emailed to randomly selected SHD employees across the Unites States. Spearman’s correlation and multinomial logistic regression were used to assess factors in mis-implementation. Results: Half (50.7%) of respondents were chronic disease program managers or unit directors. Forty nine percent reported that programs their SHD oversees sometimes, often or always continued ineffective programs. Over 50% also reported that their SHD sometimes or often ended effective programs. The data suggest the strongest correlates and predictors of mis-implementation were at the organizational level. For example, the number of organizational layers impeded decision-making was significant for both continuing ineffective programs (OR=4.70; 95% CI=2.20, 10.04) and ending effective programs (OR=3.23; 95% CI=1.61, 7.40). Conclusion: The data suggest that changing certain agency practices may help in minimizing the occurrence of mis-implementation. Further research should focus on adding context to these issues and helping agencies engage in appropriate decision-making. Greater attention to mis-implementation should lead to greater use of effective interventions and more efficient expenditure of resources, ultimately to improve health outcomes.




Padek, M. M., Mazzucca, S., Allen, P., Rodriguez Weno, E., Tsai, E., Luke, D. A., & Brownson, R. C. (2021). Patterns and correlates of mis-implementation in state chronic disease public health practice in the United States. BMC Public Health, 21(1).

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