Evaluating Books on Prescription: a community-based programme to increase access to healthcare.



Objective: To conduct an implementation evaluation of a regional, community-based programme called Books on Prescription (BoP). Methods: Seven methods; online surveys, interviews, focus groups, organisational data, statistical indicators, and consumer feedback forms, were used to collect data and assess the programme’s implementation success, and community utilisation, acceptability and reach. Results: The evaluation was limited due to the small number of respondents. However, BoP was viewed as a valuable mental health resource by health and social service professionals, librarians and consumers. Furthermore, libraries felt that it improved the quality of their books and improved their connections with other organisations within the community. Utilisation of the programme was limited by the programmes promotion methods, programme transparency, confidentiality concerns, the booklist, and resource type. Conclusions: To increase BoP acceptability, accessibility and assessment five key strategies for improvement were identified: adding other resource types to the resource collection; increasing breadth of topic areas and literacy levels; targeting programme promotion and resources to the general public; increasing transparency of the review process; and establishing regular data collection and reporting processes. Implications: The authors hope that this evaluation contributes to the establishment of a national BoP scheme. A national scheme would facilitate sustainable and consistent methods for BoP promotion and assessment. Key words: Community partnerships, systems thinking, health promotion, evaluation Key messages: 1. BoP was a valued community health service. 2. Implementation evaluation was essential to help ensure BoP was a usable and relevant service for the Southern Region of New Zealand. 2. A more structured approach to promotion, monitoring and evaluation would improve overall program function.


Sophie Carty

WellSouth Primary Health Network

I am a New Zealand Registered Dietitian with a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics and Masters of Science (thesis only). I am currently working as a Health Promotion Specialist at WellSouth in the Southern Region of New Zealand. I am involved in the coordination of health promotion programmes in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Ottawa Charter, as well as public health advocacy, implementation research, policy development, and participation in local networks and advisory groups. I have a passion for public health dietetics, sustainable food systems, and creating environments which empower people to make informed choices to better their wellbeing.