Kaiser Health Policy News Index: 2016 in Review

The Kaiser Family Foundation tracks the public’s attention to and awareness of the top health policy stories using the Health Policy News Index (HPNI) in each month’s tracking poll. To develop the HPNI, researchers track the top news stories and top health policy news stories on a daily basis over a one-month period to assess which are the top news stories. The top news stories and top health policy news stories are measured separately. In order to gather the top news stories during the month, data is collected daily on the top five news stories as determined by Google News. The top health policy news stories are gathered using the Morning Briefing produced by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Foundation. Each weekday during the month, Foundation researchers tally the number of stories appearing in the Morning Briefing from 5 news organizations (The Associated Press, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal). All news and related stories are coded by researchers to reflect the basic type of news story and the subject the story addresses. Those topics that were covered in the largest number of stories are tallied and the most common stories of the month are then included in the HPNI. The number of stories included in the HPNI vary each month depending on the number of stories that have garnered national news attention.

Following the news-tracking period, a question about how closely the public followed each of the stories in the HPNI is included on the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, a nationally representative dual frame telephone survey (landline and cell phone) of U.S. adults ages 18 and over, conducted in English and Spanish. Each tracking poll interviews a minimum of 1,200 respondents. Detailed methodological information about each month’s poll is available at https://www.kff.org/tag/tracking-poll/.


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The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.