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Evaluation Data Sources

In order to evaluate the success of a program to improve access to care for rural residents with disabilities, it is necessary to have reliable and appropriate data. This data may take several forms and can be used to inform all types of evaluation. Examples of relevant data include:

  • Surveys and questionnaires: These can be used to collect information on patients' experiences accessing care. They might include closed-ended questions such as rankings, yes/no questions, or multiple choice, as well as open-ended questions that provide qualitative data on patients' experiences accessing care.
  • Focus groups and interviews: Patients could be interviewed alone or as part of a focus group to describe their experience accessing care and any barriers they encountered in the program.
  • Observations: Evaluators might observe patients entering a clinic and describe any barriers they perceive. This type of data collection would be especially useful for describing difficulties that individuals with physical disabilities have with a healthcare facility's physical environment.
  • Electronic health record data and/or provider data: This could be used to demonstrate an increase in visits by patients with disabilities or to document changes in health status and use of care by rural patients with disabilities.

Resources to Learn More

Data Collection for Program Evaluation
Document
Toolkit providing information and templates to assist with evaluating a public health program, including best practices for different types of data.
Organization(s): Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

Data Collection Methods for Program Evaluation: Observation
Provides a brief overview of how and when to use observation for public health program evaluation.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 12/2008

Data Collection Methods for Program Evaluation: Questionnaires
Document
Provides a brief overview of how and when to use questionnaires for public health program evaluation.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 11/2008

A Guide to Evaluating Your Local Outreach Project
Document
This was written to provide guidance of evaluating an event for the SNAP program, but includes information relevant to other public health evaluation activities, including questions and templates to use in evaluation data collection.
Organization(s): USDA Food and Nutrition Service