What process and outcome evaluation could be used to display the effectiveness and efficiency of the following program?
At the Greenby Community Mental Health Center, the Consultation and Education Department was about to go under. Although consultation and education are required for all community mental health centers, not all centers have fully staffed and active departments. Instead, they implement consultation and education as a percentage of each professional's work. That was what Henry McDonald, the executive director, was suggesting for Greenby.
"You have to understand my position", he exclaimed to a distraught consultation and education director. Our funding has been cut back. We're more dependent than ever on fees for service and third-party payments. Consultation and education are luxuries we really can't afford. They don't bring in the funds we need, and we've got to put our resources into programs that carry their weight.
"But you know that C and E programs are a high priority. Every center has to have one to keep up its funding",Andy Cutler replied.
"Andy, let's not play games here. You know we don't have to have a C and E department with a full-time director. We only have to provide the service. The real issue is whether your program stays in operation the way it is now, and I'm saying it can't. Now, stop worrying. Your job isn't in jeopardy. You'll be able to move over to the clinical program."
"Henry, believe it or not, it's not my own job that I'm concerned about. No matter what kind of measurement you use, you have to see that the C and E department does pull its weight. We've developed liaisons with every major employer in the area, we've got preventive programs going in the schools, and our divorce and family workshops are attracting more people every time we put them on. Word is getting around in the community."
"Sure, the workshops attract people. At five dollars a head, why shouldn't they? The program is self-supporting, I'll grant you that, but it's not pulling in enough capital to pull its weight with the center as a whole. There's no way it can."
"But what you're not recognizing, Henry, is that this program is supporting the other programs. You've had an increase in the number of people referring themselves for alcohol and drug abuse programs. I'm telling you that this is because of the preventive programs we've been doing at the factory. You've had an increase in self-referrals for family therapy. I think they're coming from our workshops. The programs we offer help people recognize their problems, and when they recognize them, they start to come in for more help."
"That's very possible, Andy. But I've got a board of directors to deal with, and I don't know whether they're going to buy that line of reasoning. They're not professionals, you know, and they don't necessarily see those relationships that way."
The evaluation method that I would use would be comparative outcome evaluation. This evaluation method will allow me to assess how well the Consultation and Education Department is doing compared to other departments. Furthermore, this method will allow me to compare how well the other departments did prior to the Consultation and Education Department being formulated, if that information is available.
There are steps that need to be taken in order to begin any outcome evaluation. They are:
1. What information are you trying to obtain with the evaluation? What are you trying to decide with the results?
2. Who will be the audience of the results? In this sense, it will be the board of directors.
3. What information will you need? You will need to determine who is being referred from the Consultation and Education Department to the other departments within the organization.
4. When is the information required? In this case, the information is required quickly to prove to the board of directors that the Consultation and Education department is one that is quite important to the organization.
5. Where to get the information and how?
6. What resources will be available to obtain information, analyze it ...
This solution provides an explanation of how effectiveness and efficiency can help a program.