By David K. Ahern, RWJF Aligning Forces for Quality.
On March 26th, I presented via tele-video conference on approaches to evaluation for the Project HealthDesign grantees who were participating in a workshop at the Center for Better Health at Vanderbilt. Despite some trepidation about the technology not working, it seemed to go well. I think we will use it more often in our work with the RWJF Aligning Forces for Quality program going forward.
The focus of the talk was to promote both qualitative and quantitative methods appropriate for the type, scope, and nature of the projects. It was a lively session that included an exercise for the grantees to generate and discuss possible evaluation approaches to a hypothetical project scenario. The biggest challenges that emerged were: (1) measures that would be cross-cutting and (2) integration of ODLs into the clinical enterprise.
With respect to measures, in addition to including condition-specific instruments relevant to each of the individual projects, patient and provider engagement and activation received much attention. I suggested Judy Hibbard's Patient Activation Measure (PAM) as one option that seemed to make sense across all projects since one goal is to engage or activate patients to monitor and report ODLs. What other measures are available to capture this critical dimension?
The questions of “Which providers will manage the ODLs” and “What will these providers do with the stream of ODLs” were another topic of discussion. Assuming we can address these fundamental questions then the need for a measure emerges. How can we assess adoption and uptake by providers of these new data streams?