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Types of Metrics Commonly Used in Evaluations

The specific goals of the rural oral health program should be considered when determining the metrics for program evaluation. Rural oral health programs collect qualitative and quantitative information on program processes, outputs and outcomes. Common metrics include:

Demographic information on participants or practices

The participant's:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Type of health insurance
  • Socio-economic status
  • Language spoken

The practice's:

  • Gross annual operating expenses
  • Revenue and revenue per encounter
  • Average length of time that a dental clinic is fully scheduled
  • Payer mix

Process measures

  • Number of encounters for oral health services per month or year
  • Number of dental professionals trained to use an evidence-based curricula
  • Number of dental professionals providing oral healthcare services
  • Number and level of participation of organizations involved in the program
  • Number of preventive procedures provided
  • Number of referrals to other providers
  • Number of participants who express awareness of the existence of oral health programs in their communities

Outcome measures

  • Frequency of tooth brushing
  • Time spent brushing teeth
  • Reasons for not brushing teeth
  • Time since the last visit to the dentist
  • Preventive services received during the past two years
  • Health outcomes (oral health improvements)

Impact measures

  • Percentage increase in patients served
  • Percentage increase in oral health exams given by dental clinics
  • Amount of additional revenue available to health centers/ dental clinics

Resources to Learn More

The Dental Dashboard
Website
Describes the Dental Dashboard, which is a tool designed for community health centers to measure quality of dental programs.
Organization(s): National Network for Oral Health Access

Dental Quality Alliance (DQA) Measure Activities
Website
Presents information and links to resources regarding the development of a set of quality measures for adult populations.
Organization(s): American Dental Association (ADA)

The Educators’ Guide to Service-Learning Program Evaluation
Document
This guide provides information on the outcome measures of program evaluation and the process used to design them.
Organization(s): RMC Research Corporation

Guidelines for Measuring the Performance of the Environmental Protection Agency Partnership Programs
Document
This EPA guide discusses the strategies for measuring program performance.
Organization(s): Environmental Protection Agency and National Center for Environmental Innovation
Date: 6/2006

Pediatric Oral Health Quality and Performance Measures: Environmental Scan
Document
Presents findings from an environmental scan of performance and quality measures for pediatric populations. Describes existing measures and gaps in measurement, and presents an initial set of measures for use by dental professionals.
Organization(s): American Dental Association, Dental Quality Alliance
Date: 2012

Thinking About How to Evaluate Your Program? These Strategies Will Get You Started
Document
This article introduces common evaluation terms and provides strategies for delivering services and programs for evaluation.
Authors(s): Gajda, R. & Jewiss, J.
Citation: Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 9(8)
Organization(s): University of Vermont
Date: 3/2004