Background: The reality in the field of health promotion in hospitals does not always match the expectations alike. The WHO European Office for Integrated Health Care Services in Barcelona therefore initiated a pilot project on the role of standards in health promoting hospitals. Aim: To describe the process of development of standards for health promotion in hospitals, including the methodology for and the results of a pilot test. Method: A set of standards for health promotion in hospitals was developed by an international task force, following the recommendations of the ALPHA program as defined by the International Society for Quality in Health Care. The total number of 35 standards were pilot tested in 36 hospitals from 9 European countries and they were also reviewed by representatives from leading accreditation, certification and quality assurance organisations in the field. Results: Both, general and specific comments for each standard were provided. 35 criteria of the standards were assessed and 86% (30/35) were rated > 80% relevant and applicable while 14% (5/35) were rated > 60% relevant. The degree of current fulfilment of the criteria, however, was low. As one result of the study, the former 35 criteria were integrated and merged into a final set of 24 criteria for health promotion in hospitals. These 24 criteria were attributed to 5 superior WHO standards. Conclusion: The pilot test revealed that the standards are applicable and that they are considered relevant. Hospitals' current compliance with standards, however, is low. It also showed that there is a clear need for a tool to facilitate continuous monitoring and improvement of compliance. The standards are regarded public domain and the leading accreditation, certification and quality assurance organisations in the field are invited to add them to their existing standard catalogues.
- Health promotion