proaches that can provide timely feedback and guide decision making at multiple levels to achieve reductions in cardiovascular disease, including a discussion of emerging technologies to improve measurement. Finally the chapter touches on the use of measurement at the global level to inform actions to reduce the burden of CVD.
Measurement serves a number of critical roles in the effort to address any health problem. The use of measurement to inform the cycle of decision making in addressing a public health problem is outlined in Figure 4.1. This cycle applies to decision making at any level of stakeholder, from global to local, and at any scale of intervention, from a demonstration project to a global action plan. First, it is used to assess the magnitude of the problem at the level of the population and subpopulation and informs the mitigation of risk factors. When coupled with an assessment of capacity, these can inform priorities and the setting of realistic intervention goals. This in turn guides implementation of interventions, including policies, programs, and clinical interventions at the level of the population, the provider, and the individual. Measurement then can be used to assess the processes, outcomes, and impact of the implemented interventions. This feeds back into the cycle to encourage adaptations that help ensure sustainable progress. Thus, measurement is not simply an endpoint to determine the value of an intervention; it is also the foundation for an ongoing cycle of planning, prioritizing, and operationalizing interventions.
Ultimately, measurement strategies have the potential to lead to changes in health outcomes by changing the decisions and behavior of policy makers, providers, and individuals. This derives from the fundamental purpose of measurement: to create awareness that increases understanding and motivates change. In this way, as illustrated in Figure 4.2, measurement can be viewed as a critical component of any effort to result in an impact on health outcomes, serving to guide those efforts and to accelerate the pace of change to achieve the targeted outcomes. To serve as an instrument of change, measurement needs to be ongoing and cyclical. Transparent information can increase knowledge and change intentions throughout the process of implementing an intervention approach, just as it can lead to overall changes in baseline status and new policies or programs in response to achieving a new baseline.
A number of underlying principles drive measurement as a fundamental part of efforts to decrease CVD. First, in order to be effective measurement needs to be relevant to the context in which it is implemented (Majumdar and Soumerai, 2009). Contextual elements are typically local—occurring at the level of countries, regions, cities, and villages. Context includes local