Health Research and Evaluations
Research and evaluation are an integrated part of MCD Public Health activities, including outcome and process evaluation for all initiatives. We also provide ongoing evaluation consultation to other agencies. Examples of recent work are listed below. MCDPH continues to explore ways to meet the unique health needs of those who live work and play in rural communities throughout the US in collaboration with other rural health providers.
In 2011, we assisted Cary Medical Center with evaluation planning and data analysis related to a cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention project funded by Astra Zeneca. The evaluation plan and subsequent data analysis helped the client to find ways to capture process data for the community and clinical level activities, as well as clinical outcomes. MCD also provided supplemental epidemiologic data analysis for the program design and ongoing evaluation data monitoring and reporting. With our assistance, Cary Medical Center was able to demonstrate progress and obtain a second year of funding for the program.
MCD Public Health has substantial experience conducting data analysis and using data to improve and manage program operations, guide program development, and inform public policy. Working with results of a survey of School Asthma Programs in Maine, our staff obtained and added data related to school size, level, economic characteristics (school lunch) to create a richer analysis of multiple factors related to asthma risk and responses. In the Katahdin Valley Network’s examination of local outcomes, MCD Public Health staff identified multiple national and local data sets that allowed county-level comparisons, generated estimates for a multi-county area, augmented population data with HRSA data on health center performance and provider location and characteristics, and integrated claims-based and hospital discharge data to describe patterns of use across geographic areas and overlapping catchments. Products included a series of illustrated problem-focused briefs, a set of back-up data compilations, and a graphical chart pack.
We employed several types of data analysis in our evaluation of the Telephonic Diabetes Education and Support Program (TDES©) and return on investment for participating clients—including one large employer and a large association that manages benefits for a large number of employees. For one element of this evaluation, we integrated participant survey reports and documentation from providers to identify changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors as well as changes in clinical outcomes and emergency department visits. We then calculated the cost savings that could be potentially linked to those changes based on national standards and published ROI (Return on Investment) calculators. As a result, we were able to provide employers with a benchmark to compare to their actual claims and outcome experience data from their insurance provider.
From 2006 through 2010 our role for the Maine Office of Substance Abuse (OSA) included consultation to OSA grantees on data collection and analysis, data communications, logic model development, and process and outcome evaluation planning. Today, we provide fee-for-service technical assistance to substance abuse prevention coalitions in Maine and other states. Our training and technical assistance services are available in nearly all areas of chronic disease prevention and control as well.
MCD Public Health projects are guided by the latest available research and best practices while adapting implementation to fit local circumstances. Our strong emphasis on evaluation ensures that our work is driven by continuous documentation and measurement of results. For example, our 21 Reasons project was one of three recipients of the National Prevention Network “Exemplary Awards” in 2011, based in part on the strong data local project data collected and analyzed for the submission. This data analysis was supplemented by an in depth review of four rounds of parent surveys that were conducted over a seven year period. With the survey data we were able to supplement year over year changes with cohort analysis on some key hypotheses. The data analysis is being further developed as a by-product of 21 Reasons participating in SAMHSA’s Service to Science Academy and thus under consideration for potential designation as a Promising Program.
“The Trust contracts with MCD Public Health for the Telephonic Diabetes Education and Support (TDES ©) program and annual data analysis including health outcomes and estimated return on investment. Outcomes for suggest that participants experienced improved health and higher productivity, as well as indication that we should experience reduced overall costs for participants compared to eligible non-participants.”
- Stephen W. Gove, Director, Health Trust Services, Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust