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Rural Health Information Hub

Importance of Sustainability Planning for COPD Programs

To achieve sustainability, rural COPD programs often need to demonstrate that the program has had a measurable impact on the lives of people served, the health system implementing the program, and the overall community. Long-term sustainability also depends on successful implementation of COPD-related services. Evaluation activities can help demonstrate this value by tracking progress on process and outcome measures of COPD programs.

The Center for Public Health Systems Science developed the Program Sustainability Assessment Tool to provide a reliable assessment instrument that has demonstrated effectiveness when used with chronic disease programs. The tool helps users assemble a sustainability planning team, review sustainability efforts, prioritize actions, write an action plan, and implement the action plan.

Rural programs interviewed for this toolkit repeatedly mentioned similar key considerations for encouraging sustainability:

  • Establish a strong and engaged steering committee
  • Establish solid partnerships in the community
  • Maintain open and honest lines of communications between stakeholders
  • Market the services to community members, providers, and other stakeholders
  • Demonstrate program outcomes using data
  • Embrace flexibility when things do not go as planned

Resources to Learn More

Assessing Capacity for Sustainability of Effective Programs and Policies in Local Health Departments
This study examined a sample of local health departments to determine what aspects of sustainability planning led to sustainable programs.
Author(s): Tabak, R., Duggan, K., Smith, C., Aisaka, K., Moreland-Russell, S., & Brownson, R.
Citation: Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 22(2), 129-37
Date: 3/2016