Pennsylvania Coalition Uses AHRQ Tool to Evaluate State Domestic Violence Programs

Prevention and Care Management
April 2006

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) used a tool developed with AHRQ funding to evaluate the domestic violence programs at 34 different health care sites across the state.

Using the Delphi Instrument for Hospital-Based Domestic Violence Programs, the evaluation was conducted by AHRQ's principal investigator, Jeffrey H. Coben, MD, who also developed the Delphi Instrument. The evaluation took place between May 2002 and February 2004. Two site visits spaced at least 12 months apart were conducted by a research assistant. Coben calculated the Delphi score for every site following each site visit.

The 34 domestic violence programs that participated in the evaluation were predominantly hospital-based. In several cases, the local domestic violence programs were collaborating with multiple health care organizations in their community, but chose only one for inclusion in the evaluation.

The evaluation results served as benchmarks against which the sites could measure the improvement of the quality of their domestic violence programs after at least 12 months had elapsed. While some of the sites' staff were initially apprehensive about participation in the evaluation, their concerns were eased when the possible use of the instrument as a quality improvement tool was explained to them.

Numerous site leaders reported that they were able to use initial Delphi scores as leverage to influence hospital decisionmakers about the need to make needed changes to their domestic violence programs. Since the evaluation, a number of sites have been using the Delphi scores in program planning and goal setting. The evaluation found that the sites required at least three years of operation to reach a stage associated with better program performance.

Founded in 1976, the PCADV offers advocacy for battered women, a network of services for victims of domestic violence, and financial support and technical assistance in program development and training to its network of service providers. The group's medical advocacy projects, at which the domestic violence programs evaluated using the Delphi Instrument are based, have been operational since the mid-90's.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Research
Topics(s): Domestic Violence
Geographic Location: Pennsylvania
Implementer: Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Date: 04/01/2006

Coben J. Measuring the quality of hospital-based domestic violence programs. Academic Emergency Medicine 2002; 9(11):1176-1183.

Page last reviewed October 2014