Barry Cohen, MA, PhDThis is the first in what will be a series of practical tips for those of you engaged with Honoring Choices responsible for data collection and evaluation. I'm the project's evaluation consultant and hope to offer you ideas and advice you can apply in your work. My first tip-know your stakeholders. By stakeholder I mean people and organizations that have an interest in Honoring Choices. They may be internal stakeholders-trustees, executives, managers and staff of your hospitals, clinics, hospices and health plans as well as your patients and their families. External stakeholders are for example, prospective subscribers and employees, donors, funders, policy makers and more.

The Power of Evaluation: Know Your Stakeholders


Barry B. Cohen MA, PhD
Executive Director and President
Rainbow Research, Inc.

Note: If you wish to learn more on ACP evaluation insights, download Dr. Cohen's address to attendees at the 2012 Sharing the Experience conference this past July.

This is the first in what will be a series of practical tips for those of you engaged with Honoring Choices responsible for data collection and evaluation. I'm the project's evaluation consultant and hope to offer you ideas and advice you can apply in your work. My first tip-know your stakeholders. By stakeholder I mean people and organizations that have an interest in Honoring Choices. They may be internal stakeholders-trustees, executives, managers and staff of your hospitals, clinics, hospices and health plans as well as your patients and their families. External stakeholders are for example, prospective subscribers and employees, donors, funders, policy makers and more.

Evaluation is about telling the Honoring Choices story, but different stakeholders will want to know different things about what you are doing and what you have accomplished. Knowing how many completed Advanced Care Plans, POLSTS or Medical Directives are in your EMR system may be of interest to staff and management. Patients and their families however may want to know the extent to which these are honored. Policy makers may want to know about Return on Invest. How do we determine what our stakeholder's want to know? Ask!

What do your Stakeholders want to know about Honoring Choices?

For evaluation to be useful, you will need to listen to your stakeholders to learn about and address their evaluation needs.

  • What outcomes and goals do they care about?
  • What indicators or measures would they consider valid/credible/appropriate?
  • How will they use the information?
  • In what formats will they find it easy to use and understand?
  • Who would be best to communicate it?

In short, a companion to any evaluation plan is an information plan so you can satisfy evaluation wants and needs of your different stakeholders.
 

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