This Evaluation Guide describes some steps for planning and conducting an evaluation of a primary care intervention such as a PCMH model. The best evaluation design and approach for a particular intervention will depend on your goals and the available data and resources, as well as the way practices are selected to participate and the type of intervention they are testing.
A well-designed and well-conducted evaluation can provide evidence on what the intervention did or did not achieve. Specifically, it can describe (1) who the intervention served; (2) how it changed health care delivery; and (3) the effects on patient quality, cost, and experience outcomes as well as on clinician and staff experience. The evaluation also can identify how both implementation and impact results vary by practice setting and by patient subgroups, which has important implications for targeting interventions. Finally, the evaluation can use information about variations in implementation approaches across practices to identify best practices in staffing, roles of team members, and specific approaches to delivering services.
Evaluation results can provide answers to stakeholders’ questions and help in making key decisions. Results can be compared with those of alternative interventions being considered. In addition, if the results are favorable, they can support plans to continue funding the intervention and to spread the model, perhaps with refinements, on a larger, more sustainable scale.