Implementation Support: Using Data to Sustain Programs in the Real World
Brad Richardson, DeShauna Jones
An overall model and results from various studies are used to illustrate how to more successfully bring research to practice, and how to provide programs with needed data for sustainability. Critical components include measures of outcomes, fidelity and indicators for continuous quality improvement to build a long-term support strategy for sustaining programs. Developing baseline and follow-up assessments of outcomes is shown to provide a strong basis for aligning key indicators of program content with the experience of participants and desired results (e.g., protective factors, behavioral outcomes). Program content can be assessed by examining the results on specific performance items to assist in making decisions about fidelity, engagement and quality improvements.
In addition to comparing post-intervention results to pre-intervention baseline, levels of key program content can be used to indicate the association with participant increases in protective and resilience factors. These data provide information about the specific patterns of change. Based on our experience observing these patterns, we are able to facilitate program and practitioner discussions about why a particular pattern could be appearing, what other factors plausibly account for results (e.g., counter-factual information), and what can be done to improve the delivery or improve the patterns of dose and response.
An approach to common understanding among practitioners and evaluators about the use of data for supporting and sustaining the implementation of evidence based and promising practices is provided. Based on first hand implementation, evaluation and continuous quality improvement in child welfare and health programs, programs in courts, mentoring programs, prevention and intervention programs in schools, training programs and others, information for ongoing implementation support of Blueprints and other promising programs leading to sustainability is presented.