The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies has launched the book "The Effectiveness of Health Impact Assessment: Scope and limitations of supporting decision-making in Europe", on 16 October 2007.
The book is the result of a 3-year research project involving 22 teams from 19 countries, funded under the EU Public health work programme.
Health impact assessment (HIA) is a support tool for intersectoral policy-making. It is used to assess the potential health consequences of pending decisions and it feeds this information back into the decision-making process.
The book provides a detailed map of the use of health impact assessment in Europe, across a large spectrum of sectors, including transport, environment, urban planing and agriculture at national, regional and local levels.
Through an analysis of 17 case studies, the book shows that health impact assessment can be effective, meaning that the findings of the assessment are considered by policy-makers when taking a decision. But it also reveals the uneven development and incomplete use of health impact assessment across Europe. While some countries, such as England, Sweden, or the Netherlands have already achieved partial implementation of health impact assessment, others are still at an early stage of development.