Purpose: To describe the process of development of standards for health promotion in hospitals, including pilot study, method and results.
Design/methodology/approach: A set of standards for health promotion in hospitals was developed by a task force of the International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals, following the recommendations of the ALPHA programme. The standards were pilot tested and assessed qualitatively and quantitatively in 36 hospitals in nine European countries. Subsequently, standards were reviewed by representatives from the piloting hospitals. A self-assessment tool was produced to evaluate whether hospital managers and professionals perceive the standards to be relevant and applicable and whether they are currently met. Participants provided comments from their national health system perspective and rated the standards.
Findings: General comments and specific comments were provided for each standard regarding its relevance, applicability and current level of compliance. A total of 35 standards' criteria were assessed and 86 per cent (30/35) were rated > 80 per cent relevant and applicable, while 14 per cent (5/35) were rated > 60 per cent relevant. The degree of current fulfilment of the criteria, however, was low.
Research limitations/implications: While the standards should be applicable to other regions (South America, Africa, Asia) additional testing may be required to adapt them to prevailing health care challenges.
Practical implications: The pilot test revealed that the standards are applicable and were considered relevant, and showed that current compliance is low. It also showed that there is a clear need to facilitate continuous monitoring and improvement of compliance. The standards are regarded as being public domain, are applicable to other organisations and can be incorporated into existing quality systems.
Originality/value: Standards are a common tool for quality assurance in health care, but so far have considered health promotion activities only partly, if at all. The standards for health promotion in hospitals developed by WHO fill this important gap.