Integrating human health into prospective impact assessments is known to be challenging. This is true for both approaches: dedicated health impact assessments (HIA) as well as inclusion of health into more general impact assessments. Acknowledging the full range of participatory, qualitative, and quantitative approaches, this study focuses on the latter, especially on computational tools for quantitative health modelling. We conducted a survey among tool developers concerning the status quo of development and availability of such tools; experiences made with model usage in real-life situations; and priorities for further development. Responding toolmaker groups described 17 such tools, most of them being maintained and reported as ready for use and covering a wide range of topics, including risk & protective factors, exposures, policies, and health outcomes. In recent years, existing models have been improved and were applied in new ways, and completely new models emerged. There was high agreement among respondents on the need to further develop methods for assessment of inequalities and uncertainty. The contribution of quantitative modeling to health foresight would benefit from building joint strategies of further tool development, improving the visibility of quantitative tools and methods, and engaging continuously with actual and potential users.

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Environmental Impact Assessment Review
Department of Public Health

Fehr, S., Mekel, O. C. L., Fintan Hurley, J., & Mackenbach, J. (2016). Health impact assessment - A survey on quantifying tools. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 57, 178–186. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2016.01.001