Monitoring and Evaluating Medicaid Fee-for-Service Care Management Programs
Chapter 4. Presenting Your Findings
Presenting Your Findings Action Steps
Action Step 1: Analyze Your Audience and Your Objective
When developing a plan to present evaluation findings, consider several points that will shape both the content and format of your results. Assess the nature of your audience (go to Table 4) and the intended outcome(s) from dissemination of the evaluation data (e.g. to secure funding for the program, increase public knowledge of its cost savings, recruit participants, satisfy mandated reporting requirements, etc.).
Before deciding on the format for the presentation or report, you should think through the following questions:
- Who is the audience for this report/presentation?
- What does the audience want to do with the findings?
- What do you want your audience to do with the findings? (Do you need to inform or persuade?)
- Is there a gap between what the audience wants to do with the data and what you would like them to do with the results? If so, how will you reconcile this difference?
- What level of depth is appropriate for the audience's technical knowledge?
- What should your presentation strategy include in order to satisfy your audience and reach your objectives?
Table 4. Potential audiences for evaluation results
|Audience||Their needs & objectives||Technical knowledge||Potential audience size||Frequency||Useful media|
|Program managers||High: requires little additional explanation||Limited||Annually, semi-annually, or quarterly, depending on contract requirements or legislative mandate||PDF booklet or printed report|
|Legislatures/State officials||Low to medium: Will require background information||Limited||Annually, semi-annually, or quarterly-depending on contract requirements or legislative mandate||PDF booklet, printed report,|
Presentations, or briefings
|Other States||Share information to assist with program design, implementation, and evaluation of other States' CM programs||Limited||Depends on requests for information||Booklet, presentation, static or dynamic Web site|
|Media||Inform the public||Low||Large||Depends on local market||Press releases, one-on-one briefings, reports|
|Potential enrollees||To gain knowledge of program's benefits||Low||Large||Depends on program's goals||Booklet, presentation, static or dynamic Web site|
|General public||Be informed of program's costs/benefits||Low||Large||Depends on program's goals||Press releases, simple & friendly Web site|
|Participating or potential participating providers||Be informed of the program's costs/benefits related to patient care||Depends on provider involvement||Large||Depends on program's goals||Booklet, presentation, static or dynamic Web site|
|Research institutions||Use evaluation information for larger studies and meta analysis||High||Limited||Investigator Initiated||Raw data, dynamic Web site, and PDF report|
Note: Potential audience size varies. In this table, "limited" is approximately 10-100, and "large" may be measured in thousands or more.
Action Step 2: Develop a Dissemination Strategy
To begin, ask "What options do you have to share this information?" Table 5 lists several formats to consider when presenting evaluation findings. The advantages and disadvantages of each format are outlined below.
Table 5. Possible dissemination formats
|Printed report||Low cost||Accessibility is limited to people you send it to, or who know you|
|PDF booklet||Low cost, zero marginal cost, can be posted on Web sites and distributed electronically||Dense, not interactive|
|Presentations||Gets the point to the right people, meets reporting requirements, cost per presentation is low||Multiple presentations are cost prohibitive, information is one-time only (not continually accessible)|
|Static Web site||Accessible to a wider audience including unintended audiences, able to present information in varying levels of depth||Costly, hard to update|
|Dynamic (database-based) Web site||Allows researchers to focus on/ compile portions of data for their own research, possible to re-use project data store, releasing only unidentifiable data||Costly, needs knowledgeable data analysts, some data may be proprietary|
|Press releases and briefings||Reaches a wide audience||Only summarizes, no guarantee that the media will disseminate information|
|Downloadable raw data (for SPSS, SAS, etc.)||Low cost||State has little say in how the data are used and interpreted, confidential and/or identifiable data cannot be published|
Action Step 3: Make the Case
The dissemination method you choose and the type of information you can convey are intertwined. Once you determine your audience (that is, to whom you intend to present the evaluation findings) and how to present the findings, the next step is to determine what information to include.
For example, if you intend to use the results of the evaluation to support continued funding, you will likely highlight pieces of the evaluation that demonstrate areas where your program is meeting your measures for success (such as high cost savings or quality improvements). To strengthen the overall presentation, consider including a discussion of how you plan to address any weaknesses the evaluation revealed. This can help diffuse any criticism.
Action Step 4: Translate the Data
Remember that your audience may not be familiar with CM so it is important to establish the context for the evaluation before you give results. A short history of the program and its goals will allow your audience to make sense of the evaluation. Key aspects of translating research data for a general audience are:
- Identify key messages and frame your translation around these points.
- Use layman's terms and avoid technical jargon.
- Define key terms.
- Use clear and simple explanations.
- Use easy to read charts and graphs.
- Give a simple explanation of the methodology.
- Include an executive summary with written documents.
When writing for senior-level decisionmakers, policy officials, or a large general audience it may be tempting to use complicated language to explain your points. This is a common mistake that should be avoided. People often confuse technical language or complicated sentence structure with being well informed. You will be more effective if you stick to clear explanations that anyone could understand.