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Program Design: Planning and Decision making

1. What is the focus of the planning step?

2. What tools can you use to collect relevant data for decision making? What specific tool do you think would be most valuable to use and why?

3. What do you find most useful about that step in the planning process?

See the following reference:
Kettner, P. M., & Daley, J. M. (1988). Designing effective programs. Child welfare, 67(2), 99.

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What is the focus of the planning step?

The planning step exists really to measure outcomes (and outputs). It assumes expertise and experience in treatment, and contains a basic estimate of how long the average patient will be in treatment. It also seems to imply that the outliers will also be mentioned, though there are much fewer of them. While nothing can be predicted with certainty, planning offers the view of experience when considering when a patient is "finished" with the treatment and can move on.

The basic structure of the overall organization can be summarized as a process of inputs (basic resources, staff, supplies), process, or the application of expertise to the inputs, including patients or customers themselves, outputs, or the measurement of services and completion rates, outcomes (success or failure), and finally, impact, or the broader change the organization has brought to the community.

These steps differ not only as different stages of a single process, but also according to levels of analysis. Going from success with patients to a healthier community is not easy, since there is a radical jump in the nature of the variable (cf page 157). Planning deals with the outputs and outcomes stage. It provides estimates relative to the amount of resources the typical patient will receive (relative to the focus of the organization) and the extent to which this is actually applied on a day to day basis.

What tools can you use to collect relevant data for decision making? What specific tool do you think would be most valuable to use and why?

Variables here are both quantitative and qualitative. In any treatment program, the latter is more important. Expertise with little is far more valuable than incompetence with much. The only problem is that qualitative variables are difficult to define and operationalize. Qualitative variables that are important include professional competence and expertise, empathy for the patients (bed side manner is essential), communication with patients, availability of staff, and the approachability of staff. These are just a few.

Measuring these variables is problematic. Some companies specialize in evaluating ...

Solution Summary

Planning and decision making for program designs is examined. The tools for collect relevant data for decision making tools are determined.

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