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Measure to evaluate

A measure to evaluate approach seeks to measure the amount of improvement for a specific sample during a specified period of time. The purpose is to evaluate the efficacy or effectiveness of the treatment as delivered. The data is not being used in a dynamic manner through use of performance feedback, etc. to attempt to alter the outcomes over time.

Virtually all clinical trials can be described as measurement to evaluate (usually the differences between treatments or a placebo). Measurement strategies intended for evaluation purposes are typically designed to minimize any impact of the measurement activity on the process or outcome in question. During clinical trials, the study environment is tightly controlled to limit variation (homogeneous patient population, standardized treatment protocols, etc.). Similarly, when outcomes are used to compare performance using real-world data, risk adjustment techniques are frequently applied to control for variation (adjusting for symptom severity, co-morbid conditions, etc.).

Measurement strategies for evaluation tend to rely on simple pre-post assessment. If the data is not being used to make decisions as treatment unfolds, then there is less reason to measure frequently.

From the point of view of marketing behavioral health services, a simple measure to evaluate strategy may well be cost effective. It may suffice that the customer knows that the organization has shown the services to be effective at one point in time. There is no expectation that the health plan use the data to actually improve outcomes or manage cost more effectively. Much of the outcomes measurement activities of large managed behavioral healthcare companies can be described as simple measure to evaluate strategies.

-- JebBrown - 10 Jan 2007
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