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Monitoring and Evaluating Medicaid Fee-for-Service Care Management Programs

Chapter 4. Presenting Your Findings


Presenting Your Findings Action Steps

  1. Analyze your audience and your objective.
  2. Develop a dissemination strategy.
  3. Make the case.
  4. Translate your data.

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.).

Managing expectations
It is critical to manage your audience's expectations of your program. Releasing preliminary evaluation results help create an early sense of what your CM program can and will achieve within a certain time frame. It is not uncommon for legislatures to expect to see total cost savings within a period of 12 months. These false expectations can have serious ramifications if a program fails to meet these goals.

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

AudienceTheir needs & objectivesTechnical knowledgePotential audience sizeFrequencyUseful media
Program managers
  • Be fully informed of program's costs/benefits.
  • Consider necessary changes or improvements to program.
High: requires little additional explanationLimitedAnnually, semi-annually, or quarterly, depending on contract requirements or legislative mandatePDF booklet or printed report
Legislatures/State officials
  • Be fully informed of program's costs/benefits.
  • Consider necessary policy or budget changes to program.
Low to medium: Will require background informationLimitedAnnually, semi-annually, or quarterly-depending on contract requirements or legislative mandatePDF booklet, printed report,
Presentations, or briefings
Other StatesShare information to assist with program design, implementation, and evaluation of other States' CM programs
  • High: If among those that already have a CM program.
  • Low if designing or contemplating CM program.
LimitedDepends on requests for informationBooklet, presentation, static or dynamic Web site
MediaInform the publicLowLargeDepends on local marketPress releases, one-on-one briefings, reports
Potential enrolleesTo gain knowledge of program's benefitsLowLargeDepends on program's goalsBooklet, presentation, static or dynamic Web site
General publicBe informed of program's costs/benefitsLowLargeDepends on program's goalsPress releases, simple & friendly Web site
Participating or potential participating providersBe informed of the program's costs/benefits related to patient careDepends on provider involvementLargeDepends on program's goalsBooklet, presentation, static or dynamic Web site
Research institutionsUse evaluation information for larger studies and meta analysisHighLimitedInvestigator InitiatedRaw 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.

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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

FormatAdvantagesDisadvantages
Printed reportLow costAccessibility is limited to people you send it to, or who know you
PDF bookletLow cost, zero marginal cost, can be posted on Web sites and distributed electronicallyDense, not interactive
PresentationsGets the point to the right people, meets reporting requirements, cost per presentation is lowMultiple presentations are cost prohibitive, information is one-time only (not continually accessible)
Static Web siteAccessible to a wider audience including unintended audiences, able to present information in varying levels of depthCostly, hard to update
Dynamic (database-based) Web siteAllows researchers to focus on/ compile portions of data for their own research, possible to re-use project data store, releasing only unidentifiable dataCostly, needs knowledgeable data analysts, some data may be proprietary
Press releases and briefingsReaches a wide audienceOnly summarizes, no guarantee that the media will disseminate information
Downloadable raw data (for SPSS, SAS, etc.)Low costState has little say in how the data are used and interpreted, confidential and/or identifiable data cannot be published

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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.

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Page last reviewed November 2007
Internet Citation: Monitoring and Evaluating Medicaid Fee-for-Service Care Management Programs. November 2007. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/final-reports/medicaid-ffs/medicaidffs4.html