Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

Program/policy evaluation is a valuable tool that can help strengthen the quality of programs/policies and improve outcomes for the populations they serve. Program/policy evaluation answers basic questions about program/policy effectiveness. It involves collecting and analyzing information about program/policy activities, characteristics, and outcomes. This information can be used to ultimately improve program services or policy initiatives. Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

Nurses can play a very important role assessing program/policy evaluation for the same reasons that they can be so important to program/policy design. Nurses bring expertise and patient advocacy that can add significant insight and impact. In this Assignment, you will practice applying this expertise and insight by selecting an existing healthcare program or policy evaluation and reflecting on the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the program/policy.

To Prepare:

· Review the Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation Analysis Template provided in the Resources.

· Select an existing healthcare program or policy evaluation or choose one of interest to you and get approval to use it from your Instructor. Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

· Review the healthcare program or policy evaluation and reflect on the criteria used to measure the effectiveness of the program or policy described.

The Assignment: (2–3 pages)

Based on the program or policy evaluation you selected, complete the Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation Analysis Template. Be sure to address the following:

· Describe the healthcare program or policy outcomes.

· How was the success of the program or policy measured?

· How many people were reached by the program or policy selected? Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

· How much of an impact was realized with the program or policy selected?

· At what point in program implementation was the program or policy evaluation conducted?

· What data was used to conduct the program or policy evaluation?

· What specific information on unintended consequences was identified?

· What stakeholders were identified in the evaluation of the program or policy? Who would benefit most from the results and reporting of the program or policy evaluation? Be specific and provide examples.

· Did the program or policy meet the original intent and objectives? Why or why not? Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

· Would you recommend implementing this program or policy in your place of work? Why or why not?

· Identify at least two ways that you, as a nurse advocate, could become involved in evaluating a program or policy after 1 year of implementation.

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Commonly, purchasers of external services look for accreditation of a program as a measure of the program’s structural soundness. While few studies in the literature used structural measures for program evaluation, a purchaser or developer might want to monitor whether the program has the components and features that were called for in the original plan or contract. One might also question if the features are plausibly capable of supporting the kinds and extent of self-management support activities desired. Are the staff and caseload as expected? Do staff members have the qualifications and training to perform their duties? Can they reasonably be expected to support the kinds of activities envisioned for the intended number of patients? Are procedures and protocols in place to ensure that coaching tasks, as well as education, are performed? Structural measures also may be used to assess whether claims about the program’s success based on other measures are plausible. Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

Most structural measures rely on information from the program’s management. Patient self-report is another data source to consider. The Disease Management Association of America (DMAA) Participant Satisfaction Survey, for example, asks patients if their program has a toll-free number they can call.

Another approach to evaluation is to monitor the performance of the program staff by examining the extent to which they perform the tasks and activities intended; i.e., how well the process of providing support to chronically ill patients actually works. Not only are program process measures critical for program supervision and management, they also can tell purchasers and developers if the program is being implemented according to plan. Measures of reach and implementation can help reveal factors that contribute to success or failure and be useful for monitoring of staff performance and program improvement. As shown in Table 3, process measures in the program literature have focused on the reach of the program, processes for assessing patients’ self-management skills and needs, education processes, and coaching processes. Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

Measures of “reach” are intended to assess the extent to which the self-management support program reaches the people it is intended to serve. Examples include the percent of the eligible population successfully contacted with an offer of self-management support services, enrollment rates (or opt-in or opt-out rates), completion rates, and drop out rates. As an example, the study of the asthma call center program described earlier reported that 474 of the 1,303 member population with asthma actually enrolled in the program, and 196 of these enrollees were stratified to the high risk subset for telephone support. An intermediate implementation measure of the program’s attempts to engage patients (e.g., the number of attempted calls that resulted in the reach figure) also may be helpful for monitoring program performance in relation to reach Assessing a Healthcare Program/Policy Evaluation

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