Show Navigation

Resource Library

Promoting health equity — Choosing appropriate indicators: Literature scan

This resource is available in English only.

Promoting Health Equity — Choosing Appropriate Indicators: Literature Scan is designed to support the British Columbia’s Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and regional health authorities in selecting a common set of indicators and targets to measure the impact of activities designed to reduce health inequities. 

The impetus for this scan is found in the PHSA’s 2011 report, Towards Reducing Health Inequities: A Health System Approach to Chronic Disease Prevention, which recommended that the province “Develop health equity targets and plans in consultation with communities and community members and actively monitor and measure their impact on health inequities.”

This literature scan lists a set of indicators and recommends options to support a decision-making process, by provincial and regional health organizations, to select common indicators. The project team chose to support the health system’s selection of indicators first, before expanding to include non-profits, community organizations and other stakeholders. The team recommends that future phases of the initiative involve engagement with members of these outside-the-health-system groups.

The PHSA scanned Canadian and international peer-reviewed and grey literature, gathered information on the current use of indicators by BC regional health authorities (Appendix A), and conducted key informant interviews. In addition, the report was informed by researchers and practitioners involved in a series of NCCDH initiatives, including our Population Health Status Reporting Learning Circle. Based on the scan, the Canadian Indicators of Health Inequalities framework was identified as most appropriate for adaption to the BC situation. 

The report suggests a six indicator selection criteria: feasible, understandable, relevant, valid, reliable and comparable. The authors recommend that selected indicators align with BC’s priorities and mandate, and that representatives from all parts of the health system be involved in identifying, defining and prioritizing the common indicators.

Use this resource to

  • Learn about the literature, tools and resources that can be used to help you select health equity indicators
  • Promote the use of appropriate indicators and targets to measure activities that seek to reduce health inequities
  • Support the selection of health indicators in local health unit and health authority settings 


Provincial Health Services Authority (2013). Promoting health equity - Choosing appropriate indicators: Literature scan. Vancouver, BC: Provincial Health Services Authority. Retrieved from:

Related resource

Tags: Assess and report, Evaluation, Modify & orient, Document

Sign up for our E-News