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Evaluation Measures for Community Paramedicine Programs

Once key evaluation questions have been established, program planners should determine the measures or indicators they will use to answer those questions. For example, if a project goal is to reduce the frequency of 911 calls, the evaluator would need to look at the number of 911 calls overall in the emergency medical service (EMS) agency's service area, the number of 911 calls from program patients, and the number of completed referrals to social services.

A group of researchers and programs have developed the Mobile Integrated Healthcare – Community Paramedicine (MIH-CP) Outcome Measures Project to develop standardized measures that can be used across mobile integrated health and community paramedicine programs. The goal of these efforts is to build the evidence base for community paramedicine and better identify programs that can be successfully replicated. Rural organizations do not need to adopt their measurement approach in full, but they can select the measures that are most applicable to their community paramedicine program and can be answered with the available data. Another resource for identifying potential measures is the Community Paramedicine Evaluation Tool, developed by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

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

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

  • Number of patients enrolled in the program
  • Number of patients graduated from the program
  • Number of referrals to the program from the hospital/primary care
  • Number of patients receiving referrals to primary care/social services
  • Number/percent of patients contacted within 48 hours of hospital discharge
  • Number of medication reconciliation encounters completed
  • Number of stakeholder meetings held

Outcome measures focus on health outcomes and the overall results of the program. Measures recommended by the MIH-CP Outcome Measures Project include:

  • Number/percent of 911 calls diverted from the emergency department
  • Percent of patients reporting improved quality of life
  • Number/percent of patients who establish a relationship with behavioral health services/case management
  • Number/percent of patients with a documented care plan
  • Number/percent of patients readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge
  • Number/percent of medication issues documented and patients referred to a primary care provider

Resources to Learn More

Community Paramedicine Evaluation Tool
Document
Provides a self-assessment tool specially designed for rural community paramedicine programs when developing an evaluation methodology. Presents benchmarks matched with scoring indicators and scoring criteria for assessing the key functions of a community paramedicine program.
Organization: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources & Services Administration, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
Date: 3/2012

Mobile Integrated Healthcare Program: Measurement Strategy Overview
Document
Offers a variety of measures that can be used by community paramedicine programs developing a tailored evaluation strategy, including process and outcomes measures for quality of care, cost, and utilization. Developed by a consortium of agencies interested in standardizing mobile integrated health measures across programs.
Organization(s): Mobile Integrated Healthcare – Community Paramedicine (MIH-CP) Outcome Measures Project
Date: 4/2016