Applicability and transferability of interventions in evidence-based public health

Health Promot Int. 2006 Mar;21(1):76-83. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dai025. Epub 2005 Oct 25.


The context in which public health programmes operate can play an important role in influencing their implementation and effectiveness. An intervention that has been shown to be effective in one setting may turn out to be ineffective somewhere else, even supposing it can be implemented there. Therefore, systematic reviews of public health interventions should appraise the applicability of the intervention process and the transferability of the intervention effectiveness to other localities. However, applicability and transferability appraisal is seldom reported in systematic reviews of public health and health promotion interventions. This paper aims to introduce an innovative approach to bridging this gap. A list of attributes that may impact on applicability and transferability can be developed, based on knowledge of the proposed intervention. Then the applicability and transferability of the intervention to the local setting can be rated, and given a score, based on knowledge of the local setting. This approach provides a useful tool for evaluating public health interventions and provides a reliable basis for informed decision making in resource-poor settings, where rigorous primary studies are lacking and where very limited resources put a high demand on evidence-based approaches to health promotion.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Public Health*