“Best” practice is a continuum of practices/programs ranging from emerging, to promising to best practice.
AMCHP's Best Practices program uses the term "Best Practice" as a broad category that includes emerging and promising practices. Please click on a category for specific criteria.
An emerging practice:
- Incorporates the philosophy, values, characteristics, and indicators of other positive/effective public health interventions.
- Is based on guidelines, protocols, standards, or preferred practice patterns that have been proven to lead to effective public health outcomes.
- Incorporates a process of continual quality improvement that:
- Accumulates and applies knowledge about what is working and not working in different situations and contexts;
- Continually incorporates lessons learned, feedback, and analysis to lead toward improvement or positive outcomes.
- Has an evaluation plan in place to measure program outcomes, but it does not yet have evaluation data available to demonstrate the effectiveness positive outcomes.
A promising practice, in addition to fulfilling the criteria above, has been, or is being evaluated and:
- Has strong quantitative and qualitative data showing positive outcomes, but does not yet have enough research or replication to support generalizable positive public health outcomes.
A best practice results from a rigorous process of peer review and evaluation that indicates effectiveness in improving public health outcomes for a target population. A best practice:
- Has been reviewed and substantiated by experts in the public health field according to predetermined standards of empirical research;
- Is replicable, and produces desirable results in a variety of settings.
- Clearly links positive effects to the program/practice being evaluated and not to other external factors.
Are there Best Practices in Policy?
Yes! Policies that incorporate values and characteristics of a promising practice can be considered "best practice" in Policy. In addition, the impact of policies on programs and public health outcomes can be tracked and evaluated just as programmatic efforts can (and should be) to ensure continual assessment and improvement.