Select an Evidence Based Program

Section 3.3

Forming Expectations

Organizations are typically motivated to implement EBPs by a desire to promote the health and well-being of individuals in their communities. Program personnel often hold high expectations regarding the outcomes of their programs and grow discouraged when challenges are encountered. Three key concepts related to evidence-based programming are described below. Considering these concepts can help you and fellow personnel prepare to encounter challenges and form expectations that are realistic.

  • It is hard to change health-related behaviors. Most EBPs help participants accomplish behavior change (e.g., smoking cessation, initiating exercise, eating nutritiously). Changing deep-seated behaviors is very hard to do! Participants often know behavior change is difficult because they have tried to change their behaviors before. If they were able to change these behaviors easily, they would do so on their own and have no need for the programs. The difficulty associated with behavior change is important to keep in mind because it is one reason why participants are hesitant to take part in programs and why they sometimes drop out of programs. Additionally, it may be one reason why program outcomes are often more modest than program personnel had hoped. Keep in mind that even small changes can be cause for celebration—they may be catalysts for increased change in the future!
  • Participants will not necessarily attend a program simply because it is offered. One might think that participants would automatically be eager to take part in an available program that would benefit them, but this is often not the case. Sometimes potential participants do not take part because they do not realize what a program entails and how much it might benefit them. Some participants may not have time to take part in the program or may feel uncomfortable stepping out of their comfort zones. Other participants may be unable to attend due to lack of transportation or because loved ones do not support their participation. Subsequently, it is useful for organizations to minimize barriers to participating in programs (e.g., offer them at low costs or for free, hold sessions in convenient locations, help arrange for transportation) while maximizing the benefits (e.g., target relevant health needs, offer incentives). Organizations can emphasize the great benefits and minimized barriers when marketing their programs.
  • The goal of implementing your program is positive outcomes. Your organization is motivated to implement an EBP to promote the health and well-being of seniors in your community. Keep this at the forefront of your mind as you move forward. Try not to grow discouraged or overconfident due to things like attendance rates or your program’s popularity—these are not accurate indicators of success. Though evaluation activities require effort and are sometimes tedious, it is important to complete them. The only accurate way to determine the success of your program is by examining outcomes through evaluation (see Evaluation Planning for more information).

Keep these concepts in mind as you begin implementing your EBP. You will inevitably encounter challenges, but using the resources provided with your program and those in this toolkit will help you achieve your goal of promoting the health and well-being of the seniors served by your organization.

Glossary of Terms

Toolkit Glossary

scroll to see all

Adaptation– Making changes to an evidence-based program in order to make it more suitable for a particular organization and/or audience.

Baseline – A starting point. In evidence-based programming, the term “baseline” is usually used in the context of data collection, where baseline data is data collected before a program is implemented.

Credentials – A testimony of qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party. Examples of credentials include academic diplomas, academic degrees (e.g., MSW, MPH, PhD), licenses (e.g., MD, RN, LCSW), certifications (e.g., CHES, CPR, first aid), and security clearances.

Evidence – Facts or testimony in support of a conclusion, statement, or belief. In some settings, individuals may refer to “levels of evidence” or “types of evidence.” These terms will have specific definitions unique to the setting in which they are used. When referring to evidence-based programs, the term “evidence” is generally used to describe the findings or results of program evaluation studies.

Evidence-based program – A program that has been thoroughly evaluated by researchers who determined it produces positive outcomes.

Fidelity – The extent to which a program is being implemented as its developers intended for it to be.

Implementation – Putting into action or carrying out a program.

Instrument – A measurement tool. Instruments can take many forms including biomedical equipment (e.g., glucometer, blood pressure monitor, weight scale), pencil and paper tests, questionnaires, and interviews. A thermometer is an instrument used to measure body temperature. Likewise, a survey is an instrument that can be used to measure anxiety.

Medicaid – A publically-funded health insurance program for individuals who have low incomes and fall into certain categories of eligibility.

Objectives – Specific, measurable steps that can be taken to achieve goals.

Peer review – When experts review a professional’s performance, research, or writings. Peer review is a way that qualified professionals self-regulate their professions. Performance, research, or writings that pass the peer review process have increased credibility or trustworthiness.

Program champion – An individual who advocates for a program.

Quality assurance- A collection of planned, systematic activities applied to ensure that the components of a program are being implemented well.

Secondary data – Previously collected data that is being used for a purpose other than that for which it was originally collected.

Theory of behavior change – An attempt to explain how and why people change their behaviors. Researchers typically generate theories of behavior change from research in the fields of psychology, education, health, and other social sciences. When developing evidence-based programs, researchers will select a theory or components from several theories to guide program development.

Audience – The individuals for whom you implement your program. Depending on your setting, these individuals may also be referred to as a target population, population of interest, or clientele.

Buy-in – Typically used in the business world, buy-in refers to a financial exchange. In the context of health programs, the buy-in of stakeholders (community members, organizational leaders, participants, etc.) is generally non-financial. It involves their acceptance of a concept, idea, or proposal.

Data – A collection of facts, such as measurements and statistics.

Evidence-based practice – When clinicians (e.g., doctors, nurses) base their healthcare treatment decisions on the findings of current research, their clinical expertise, and the values/preferences of their patients.

Evidence-informed practice or program – A practice or program that is guided by theories and preliminary research. While there is some indication that these practices and programs produce positive outcomes, the evidence is too weak to refer to them as evidence-based. These are sometimes referred to as “promising” or “emerging” practices and programs.

Goals – General, non-measurable intentions or outcomes.

Incentives for participation – Factors that motivate an individual to take part in a program. Organizations sometimes provide incentives to encourage participants to begin and/or remain enrolled in a program. Common incentives include gift cards and program t-shirts.

Intervention – Organized efforts to promote health and prevent disease. This term is used because the efforts intervene, or come between, an individual and a negative health outcome in an attempt to prevent or delay the negative outcome. “Intervention” and “program” are often used interchangeably.

Interventionist – An individual who implements or carries out the components of a program.

Lay leaders – Individuals who do not have formal healthcare credentials who are trained to lead evidence-based programs.

Medicare – A publically-funded health insurance program for adults over age 65 and individuals with certain disabilities or health conditions.

Partnership – A cooperative relationship between two or more organizations that collaborate to achieve a common goal through the effective use of knowledge, personnel, and other resources.

Primary data – Original or new data being collected for a specific research goal.

Protocols - Predefined procedural methods. Examples include detailed program implementation procedures, required equipment, required data collection instruments with detailed instructions for administration, and recommended safety precautions.

Readiness – The degree to which an organization is prepared or ready for something.

Stakeholder – Any individual or group that has a stake or interest in a program.

Translation – The process of taking a program originally implemented in a controlled, laboratory-like setting and making it suitable for implementation in the community.

Table of Contents