For an example of an elegantly simple program evaluation that yielded great results, check out an article by Michelle Eberle and colleagues in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region, which appeared in the August 2014 edition of MLA News . The article describes the region’s Clear: Conversationsproject, a collaboration among five organizations in which librarians and health professionals taught health literacy skills to patients. This innovative project, originated by Health Care Missouri, featured role-plays of patients in which they practice good patient communication skills during a visit to a health care provider (played by volunteers from various health professions).
This project shows that a few relatively simple evaluation activities can clearly show the positive outcomes of a project. For example, after their role-play, participants gave high ratings to their satisfaction with the information they received during their “doctor visit.” When completing the multi-session program, a strong majority said the program improved their comfort with employing effective communication techniques with their own health care providers. More than half of respondents completing the second questionnaire described specific actions they intended to use in future visits to health care providers. Also, the health professional role-players provided their own feedback about how their experiences would affect their own interactions with patients.
The evaluation methods used for the Clear: Conversations project were fairly simple, but well-planned. Eberle and her colleagues developed their evaluation methods in the project planning stage and consulted with the NN/LM OERC on method design. As a result, the team was able to collect information that clearly demonstrated, both to themselves and others, the value of their project.
The OERC would like to highlight more examples of evaluations that are both effective and relatively easy to implement. If you know of other projects that we can showcase in our Elegantly Simple Evaluation series, please contact Cindy Olney at email@example.com.