Gerry Fairbrother, Alison Rein, M.S., Hilary Kennedy, M.P.A., M.Sc., Ben DeCoudres, Rebecca Singer Cohen, M.P.P., and Raj Sabharwal, M.P.H.
A. Rein, H. Kennedy, B. DeCoudres et al., Evaluation Design and Technical Assistance Opportunities: Early Findings from the Beacon Community Program Evaluation Teams, The Commonwealth Fund, January 2012.
The Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program is funding 17 communities to build and strengthen their health information technology (IT) capabilities to enhance care coordination, improve patient and population health, and reduce or restrain costs. Based on the experiences and evidence generated by these communities, the program hopes to illustrate the possibilities of leveraging health IT to achieve desired goals. Doing so requires rigorous evaluation work, which is the subject of this issue brief. Based on semistructured interviews with representatives from each Beacon Community, the brief outlines various study designs, evaluation approaches, outcome measures, and data sources in use. It also identifies some common challenges, including establishing governance models, determining baseline measures, and assessing impact in a relatively constrained timeframe. Technical assistance in disseminating and publishing findings and assessing return on investments will be offered in the coming year.