Local government often fund asset-based approaches (ABAs) to health improvement, but it is challenging for them to know which ABA should be funded. This study aims to understand what economic evidence is available about these interventions and, within the evidence, how economic impact has been measured.
Community ‘assets’ are the collective resources which individuals and communities have at their disposal. This includes green spaces, individual knowledge and support groups. Utilising and encouraging use of community assets can help support whole community development, in turn supporting people in disadvantaged communities to engage with local resources.
Asset-based approaches (ABAs) to health improvement empower people in more disadvantaged communities to use local resources and increase control over their own health. This can bring about holistic improvement to health by not focusing on specific problems but rather taking a wider perspective on overall well-being (e.g. by supporting people to feel more confident or better prepared to make friends). Such broader goals can help improve people’s health by supporting them make healthier choices. This can both lead to larger improvements in health and well-being, and reduce cost to health services, like the NHS, by preventing the need for expensive in-hospital treatment.
Local government often fund ABAs to health improvement, but it is challenging for them to know which ABA should be funded. This study aims to understand what economic evidence is available about these interventions and, within the evidence, how economic impact has been measured.
This review aims to answer the following questions:
- What is the accrued evidence for the economic impact of asset-based approaches/interventions to public health and well-being?
- What designs, methods, techniques and outcome measures have been used to produce this economic evidence?
Recognising the value of patient and public involvement and engagement, the study has, and will, receive input from members of the East of England community – novel for systematic reviews. The review has benefitted from input by Norfolk County Council's Commissioning Manager, Nadia Jones, and Healthwatch Suffolk's Co-production Facilitator, Susan Conquer. Contributors have/will both: aid in the development of the search strategy; and contribute to understanding the relevance of the literature to implementing ABAs.
The project has a defined search strategy and researchers are now screening papers for inclusion in the review. For more information, please see the systematic review protocol: PROSPERO registration
The potential or actual impact
Overall, the study will provide an understanding, at a national level, of how ABAs are economically evaluated in research. This will aid in producing a best-practice framework for future evaluation of approaches/ interventions in both the academic and community setting. This review may highlight the need for further development of the methodologies used in the economic evaluation of ABAs.
The project was recently presented at the virtual ARC EoE March Showcase event.
The near final versions of the review are currently being shared between research team members for refinements.
Once all of the final changes for the review write-up have been completed, the review will be submitted to a journal for publication.
Who is involved?
Researchers and institutions
Professor Jennifer Whitty, Senior Research Scientist, Evidera
Dr Linda Birt, Research Fellow, ARC East of England Inclusive Involvement in Practice Led Research / University of East Anglia (Linda.Birt@uea.ac.uk) Dr Sarah Hanson, Researcher, ARC East of England / University of East Anglia (S.Hanson@uea.ac.uk)
Susan Conquer, Co-Production Facilitator, Health Watch Suffolk
Nadia Jones, Public Health Prevention Policy Manager, Norfolk County Council