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Evaluation Measures

Once program planners have decided what key evaluation questions they will be investigating, they should next determine what measures they will be using to answer those questions. It is important to consider the specific goals of a community health worker (CHW) program when selecting measures. For example, if a project goal was to improve patients' knowledge about how to manage their diabetes, the evaluator may want to review a food diary, track medication adherence, or look at A1C levels. When possible, programs can consider using measures that will allow for comparison with other similar CHW programs. This helps build the evidence base for CHW programs. The CHW Common Indicators Project has identified a number of process and outcome measures and constructs to help achieve this goal.

Additional information on identifying strategies and measures for gathering appropriate data and evidence can be found in Collect and Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative Data in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.

Process measures focus on how CHW services are provided. Examples of process measures related to CHW programs include:

  • Patient demographic information
  • Number of consumers who receive education
  • Number of CHW program activities consumers engage in
  • Number of CHWs involved in community activities
  • Number of referrals made by CHWs
  • Number of education programs facilitated by CHWs
  • Number of people screened
  • Consumer behaviors
    • Reasons consumers use CHW services
    • How patient learned of CHW services
    • Patient perception of access (access to healthcare or social services)
    • Presence/types of compliance and self-management issues

Outcome measures examine how successful the project was at achieving its goals and improving patient health outcomes. Examples of outcome measures related to CHW programs include:

  • Patient outcomes
    • Health outcomes (blood glucose level or blood pressure)
    • Healthcare utilization (frequency of primary care or emergency department visits)
    • Chronic disease (number of newly diagnosed patients)
    • Self-reported health
    • Self-reported self-efficacy or confidence in managing their health
    • Consumer satisfaction
    • Improvements in knowledge about or awareness of health issues
    • Cost savings (for example, fewer emergency department visits)
  • Costs of CHW interventions
    • Staff salaries
    • Start-up costs
    • Training costs

Resources to Learn More

Evaluation of a Community Health Worker Training Program in Rural Appalachia, USA
Describes an evaluation conducted to assess the curriculum, materials, and testing procedures for a CHW training program in rural Appalachia. Discusses the advantages of CHW programs in rural communities.
Author(s): Miller, W.C.
Citation: International Journal of Medicine, 3(1), 33-37
Date: 2015