Online Health Program Planner tool

A Summary of

The Health Communication Unit (2009). Online Health Program Planner 2.0. Toronto, ON: The Health Communication Unit, Public Health Ontario & National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools. Retrieved from http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/ServicesAndTools/ohpp/Pages/default.aspx

Relevance for Public Health

The OHPP was developed specifically for public health. This tool provides public health practitioners and decision-makers with a rigorous mechanism to develop a program plan using the best available evidence. Evidence-informed program planning using a systematic process can provide rationale for the efficacy of public health interventions and meet funding requirements (Holmes, 2008). Specific Canadian public health examples of the tool’s application provide context in relation to health promoters, decision-makers and program evaluators.

Description

Public health practitioners face multiple, competing demands when planning community programs. These include time and financial constraints, varied planning methods used by partners and the need for immediate access to information (Hershfield et al., submitted). The Online Health Program Planner (OHPP) is a tool to plan a public health program in a systematic, evidence-informed manner. This tool’s six-step planning process includes:

  1. pre-planning and project management;
  2. assessing the situation;
  3. setting goals and outcome objectives;
  4. choosing strategies and activities;
  5. developing indicators; and
  6. reviewing the developed plan.

Anyone involved in program planning, including front-line workers, researchers, professionals, managers, decision-makers and policy makers (Hershfield et al., submitted), can use this tool.

The OHPP was designed to support a number of public health programming needs from the initial concept to completion or to enhance an existing program. The OHPP has seven common uses including: planning a program from start to finish in an evidence-informed way, creating a logic model, creating complete outcome objectives, developing a plan to collect situational assessment data, organizing collected situational assessment data, reflecting and reviewing critical planning decisions, and prioritizing activities.

Using the OHPP, users can focus on one particular planning step or one worksheet within a step (for example, setting outcome objectives, or developing a data collection plan). Some of the other features of the OHPP include the ability to devise force field analysis, utilize an objective builder or create objectives free hand. Outputs are created in MS Word with the ability to save and print. Users can search the “Learning Centre” to consult an online manual, planning case studies, resources, completed examples, as well as for evidence to support planning decisions. However, this evidence has not been pre-appraised for quality and would require the user to examine and identify the best available evidence prior to its use in the tool. Based on a rigorous program planning model, this tool improves accountability for funding; provides access to current online planning tools; addresses multiple programming needs; and offers flexibility for program planning (Hershfield et al., submitted).

Accessing the Method/Tool


Language(s)

  • English
  • French

Format(s)

On-line Access

Cost

None

Implementing the Method/Tool


Time for Participation/Completion

Information not available

Time for completion will vary depending on the use, perhaps up to a few hours to enter planning data and decisions. Many worksheets (planning steps) require time for analysis. Of course, planning a program itself may take months to plan, while using the OHPP at various steps along the way.

Additional Resources and/or Skills Needed for Implementation

As a preliminary step before using this tool, the user must have examined and identified the best available evidence applicable to their programming needs. This tool does not appraise the quality of evidence used for program planning but facilitates the incorporation of the best available evidence to support program development and decision-making.

Steps for Using Method/Tool

This interactive, online tool uses a six-step planning process (Hershfield et al., submitted) that includes:

Step 1: Preplanning and project management – consider various elements that influence the planning process such as partnerships, resources and decision-making;

Step 2: Assess the situation – examine all of the influential factors internal and external to the program;

Step 3: Set goals and outcome objectives – prioritize goals, identify audiences and relationships between goals;

Step 4: Choose strategies and activities – determine activities that will achieve objectives and identify necessary resources;

Step 5: Develop indicators – develop measurable indicators for each objective; and

Step 6: Review the program plan – create a logic model for the program.

Who is involved

This online tool can be used by anyone involved with public health programming, including front-line workers, researchers, professionals, managers, decision-makers and policy makers. It can be used within a public health organization or with external stakeholders for the purposes of program planning and development.

Conditions for Use

None

Evaluation and Measurement Characteristics


Evaluation

Has not been evaluated

Validity

Not applicable

Reliability

Not applicable

Methodological Rating

Unknown/No evidence

Method/Tool Development


Developer(s)

Public Health Ontario
Website: http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en

Method of Development

The OHPP was developed using an accepted program logic model. Initial design strategies included the creation of story boards and a description of objectives so that key stakeholders could contribute to the development of the tool (Holmes, 2008). Throughout the development, usability of the tool was evaluated with selected end users, and modifications made as necessary. Development included a promotional and evaluation strategy (Holmes, 2008).

Release Date

2009

Contact Person/Source

Larry Hershfield
Public Health Ontario
480 University Avenue, Suite 300
Toronto, ON M5G 1V2
Phone: (647) 260-7198
Fax: (647) 260-7600
Email: larry.hershfield@oahpp.ca

These summaries are written by the NCCMT to condense and to provide an overview of the resources listed in the Registry of Methods and Tools and to give suggestions for their use in a public health context. For more information on individual methods and tools included in the review, please consult the authors/developers of the original resources.

Resources

Title of Primary Resource Online Health Program Planner
File Attachment None
Web-link
Reference

The Health Communication Unit (2009). Online Health Program Planner 2.0. Toronto, ON: The Health Communication Unit, Public Health Ontario & National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools. Retrieved from http://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/ServicesAndTools/ohpp/Pages/default.aspx

Type of Material Website
Format On-line Access
Cost to Access None.
Language English, French
Conditions for Use
Title of Supplementary Resource Using an online health program planner: What's in it for you?
File Attachment Using an online health promotion planner.pdf
Web-link
Reference

Hershfield, L., Finkle Perazzo, D., Ciliska, D., Clark, K., Jetha, N., Mackintosh, J. (2009). Using an online health program planner: What’s in it for you? Canadian Journal of Public Health (outsert), submitted.

Type of Material Journal article (outsert)
Format Periodical
Cost to Access
Language English, French
Conditions for Use
Title of Supplementary Resource A collaborative project: Developing an online planning tool – Evaluation plan.
File Attachment None
Web-link
Reference Holmes, K. (2008). A collaborative project: Developing an online planning tool – Evaluation plan. Toronto, ON: The Health Communication Unit and the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools.
Type of Material Report
Format Paper copy
Cost to Access Not specified
Language English
Conditions for Use Not specified

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