IDM Best Practices Framework

Click on the following topics for an introduction to the IDM Framework. (This information is excerpted from the IDM Manual for Best Practices in Health Promotion by Barbara Kahan and Michael Goodstadt, April 2002.)

using the IDM Best Practices Framework

The IDM Best Practices Framework, the practical application of the IDM, is a multi-purpose "change" tool for practitioners and organizations in any situation who want to pursue a best practices approach to health promotion. Using a health promotion filter to ensure that practice is consistent with health promotion underpinnings and understanding of the environment, the IDM Framework can help to:

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commitment to ongoing questioning and reflection

The application of the IDM to practice involves ongoing questioning and reflection:

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health promotion filter

Down the side of the Framework are the domains and subdomains from the IDM, that is, underpinnings (values, goals and ethics, theories and beliefs, evidence), understanding of the environment (vision and analysis), and practice (responding to issues, and research and evaluation). These act as a health promotion filter for the Framework's steps.

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Framework steps

The steps listed at the top of the IDM Best Practices Framework are meant to be used "organically" rather than linearly, that is, according to the demands of our particular situation and how we work best rather than in a set order. (Click here to see what the Framework looks like.)

  1. In the first set of steps we put in place a solid foundation for practice by: (a) identifying general health promotion criteria and guiding principles, (b) examining the current situation, and (c) developing a picture of our ideal situation.
  2. In the second set of steps we develop an action and evaluation plan to make our picture of the ideal a reality, defining the what and how (i.e. relevant activities, tasks and processes), the who, and the when, all with respect to specific objectives to achieve the ideal, resources, challenges, and ongoing evaluation.
  3. In the third set we document what happens when the action and evaluation plan is implemented with respect to activities, processes, and outcomes/impacts.
  4. In the last set, based on our evaluation and documentation processes, we revise our ideal picture and/or our action and evaluation plan.

In other words, the Framework leads us through a process where we answer the following questions about our activities and programs:

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Evidence Framework steps

The IDM Evidence Framework for best practices is the "offspring" of the general IDM Best Practices Framework and is to be used in conjunction with it. Its steps are:

  1. Ask the health promotion question.
  2. Conduct research (including evaluation) to answer the question by:
    • identifying and selecting information
    • analyzing the information gathered, summarizing or synthesizing the findings, and reporting the findings
    • filtering the information to ensure that it is: relevant to our question, consistent with and reflective of health promotion underpinnings and understanding of the environment, high quality, and applicable to our situation.
  3. In conjunction with underpinnings and understanding of the environment, use the resulting evidence to make practice decisions.
  4. Implement these decisions.
  5. Evaluate on an ongoing basis our decisions and our practice.
  6. Revise where necessary our decisions and our practice processes and activities.
  7. Enter a new cycle of planning, implementation and evaluation.

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requirements for using the IDM Best Practices Framework

To effectively use the IDM Framework requires:

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what the IDM Best Practices Framework looks like

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IDM Best Practices terminology

The alphabetical list that follows defines key terms as they are used in the IDM approach to best practices in health promotion.

action and evaluation plan


best practices in health promotion




determinants of health





ethical principles





health environment

health-related issues

health promotion

health promotion criteria and guiding principles

healthy public policy





organization/work environment

organization/work-related issues


picture of ideal situation








underlying beliefs and assumptions


understanding of the environment



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IDM Best Practices FAQs

  • Framework's table format too rigid?
  • need to do whole Framework?
  • meaning of underlying premise?
  • fit with evidence-based approach?
  • who can use Framework?
  • duplicating other tools?
  • necessary for good results?
  • why take the time?
  • finding the time?
  • too complex?
  • use with community?
  • working with differences?
  • suitability for diversity?
  • necessity for guiding principles and criteria?

  • Framework's table format

    With all those boxes in a table format, isn't the Framework too rigid for health promotion work, which is all about people and not about straight lines?

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    necessity for doing whole Framework

    Do we have to do the whole Framework?

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    meaning of underlying premise

    What does the underlying premise of the Model actually mean, that the quality and value of practice depend on the degrees of awareness, articulation, clarity, and reflection associated with each of its categories?

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    fit with evidence-based approach

    How does the IDM fit with an evidence-based approach?

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    who can use Framework

    Who can use the Framework?

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    duplicating other tools

    Why do we need the IDM Framework - aren't there other planning tools out there already that we can use?

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    necessary for results

    How do you know we wouldn't come up with the same results without using the IDM Framework?

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    time constraints

    We have too much to do already - why would we want to spend time on the Framework?

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    finding the time

    Even if we want to use the Framework, where will we find the time in our overwhelmingly busy workdays?

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    The IDM looks really complex and overwhelming - is it possible for most of us to get a real grip on it and use the IDM Framework effectively?

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    use with community

    How can we use the IDM when working with community - aren't the language and the concepts too complicated?

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    working with differences

    Everyone is at such different levels regarding experience and understanding, how is it possible to work together on the Framework?

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    suitability for diversity

    Taking account of diversity is so central to health promotion work; in what ways does the IDM reflect diversity, or is it suitable only for mainstream groups?

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    necessity for guiding principles and criteria

    Why do we need to bother with the first column of the Framework, that is, developing a set of general health promotion criteria and guiding principles?

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