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Collecting Data for Evaluation

To position the program best for a successful evaluation, community health worker (CHW) program planners and evaluators should explore using simple data collection techniques and existing data tracking mechanisms, such as:

  • Individual encounter forms
  • Group education session documentation
  • Clinic reports and patient charts
  • Case management reports
  • Electronic health records
  • Patient, CHW, or healthcare provider surveys
  • Interviews with patients and stakeholders

If a CHW program focuses on health services delivery, it may be important for CHWs or other members of the care delivery team to record and track patient information pre- and post-intervention. Evaluations may also solicit feedback from community representatives, program stakeholders, and healthcare providers. These data may be used to assess the effectiveness of CHW outreach or the quality of a health education session. Some programs may also ask CHWs for feedback about their job satisfaction and other experiences.

CHWs can be trained to participate in program data collection and evaluation by entering patient data into electronic health record systems or collecting data from patients, including information on patient-reported changes in health status, knowledge, beliefs, and actions. CHWs may also be trained to participate in qualitative research, such as conducting focus groups, and supporting community-based participatory research by enrolling community members in studies, educating stakeholders about research goals, and supporting dissemination of research findings.

Resources to Learn More

An Innovative Method to Involve Community Health Workers as Partners in Evaluation Research
Discusses the dual role of CHWs as lay health workers and researchers. Describes a process through which CHWs could actively participate in the collection of qualitative evaluation data.
Author(s): Peacock, N., Issel, M., Townsell, S., et al.
Citation: American Journal of Public Health, 101(12): 2275-2280
Date: 12/2011

ROI Toolkit: A Guide for Conducting a Return on Investment Analysis of Your Community Health Worker Program
Provides detailed instructions when calculating a return on investment (ROI) analysis for a CHW program. Identifies the types of data needed for the calculations and describes how an ROI analysis can be used to support program sustainability. Provides an example from a Federally-Qualified Health Center.
Organization(s): MHP Salud