HIA methodology

Steps involved in HIA

The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has produced Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Guidance for the Department of Health (DOH) in Ireland and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) in Northern Ireland. 

The HIA process can be summarised as such:

1. Gathering information on potential health impacts of the proposal 

HIA involves collecting information on how the policy, programme or project may impact on the health of the population from a range of sources. The links below give further information on the difference sources of evidence:

A large number of potential health impacts of the proposal may have been identified. To frame recommendations to promote health, these impacts need to be ranked in some way. The following criteria should be considered:

  1. the severity of the impact if it does occur (severe, moderate or minimal)
  2. the number of people likely to be affected (many, some or few)
  3. the timescale in which the impact may occur (short, medium or long term)
  4. whether the impact will affect some groups within the population more than others (inequalities)
  5. issues highlighted as areas of concern by stakeholders (stakeholder concerns)
  6. the likelihood of the impact occurring (likely, speculative or unlikely).

The prioritising health impacts tool provides a framework for prioritising health impacts.

  • Recommendations

Recommendations will be developed for each identified health impact and these should:

  • be practical and achievable
  • identify a lead agency and others who may play a role
  • specify timeframes where possible
  • be wide ranging
  • aim to be cost effective
  • be relatively few in number

When recommendations have been formed and agreed these should be sent to the relevant lead agencies for consideration.

A tool for forming recommendations and dissemination may be downloaded here.

  • Monitoring and evaluation

Assesses whether the aims and objectives set at the beginning of the HIA were achieved and whether the methodology used was effective or suitable.

A tool to assess the implemenation of recommendations can be accessed here.