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Planning an Evaluation for MOUD Programs

The first step in planning an evaluation of a program providing medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) is to clarify the goals of the program. Program goals describe the desired long-term result of a program. Typically, the main goal of an MOUD program is to help a patient achieve long-term recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD). Other goals include:

  • Increasing quality of life for individuals with OUD
  • Lowering opioid use
  • Reducing overdose deaths
  • Increasing long-term survival

The goals of an MOUD program, as well as the specific activities implemented, will help determine the selection of evaluation questions. Evaluation questions guide the type of evaluation being conducted, such as a needs assessment, process evaluation, or outcome evaluation. They also guide the selection of evaluation measures and what data must be collected.

Examples of evaluation questions for a rural MOUD program include:

  • How appropriate are the program processes compared to quality standards for MOUD programs?
  • Are MOUD program participants being reached as intended?
  • How well did the program work?
  • How does the program define patient progress?
  • How will the program measure patient success for OUD?

Ideally, a rural MOUD program should develop a written plan for evaluation prior to the start of the program. An evaluation plan describes the goals of the program, connects the program goals to the evaluation type, and defines measurable objectives and what data will be collected.

For more information, see Evaluation Planning and Evaluation Design in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.