Use of clinical indicators to evaluate COPC projects

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Background: In 1989, Ramsey Family and Community Medicine Residency adopted a population-based focus for teaching and clinical activities based on the principles of community-oriented primary care (COPC). Evaluation and outcomes measurement proved problematic for each of the five COPC projects we implemented. Methods: Surrogate measures, or key clinical indicators, were used to monitor the following COPC projects at Ramsey Family Physicians clinic: preschool immunization, family-centered birth, intimate interpersonal violence, teenage pregnancy-sexually transmitted disease prevention, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening. Results: Between 1995 and 1998, we documented a decline in preschool immunization rates, an increase in preterm births and low-birth-weight infants, improved intimate interpersonal violence screening, a high but stable teenage pregnancy rate, a decrease in teenage chlamydia rate, and improved HIV prenatal screening. Our data collection and analysis were complicated by a lack of relevant indicators related to target goals, a shifting denominator, incomplete data and an unstable numerator, disconnected data sources, and missing comparison data. Conclusions: COPC project evaluation is an evolving process, and measurement deficiencies become recognized with time. Even so, outcomes measurement legitimizes COPC interventions and provides a value-added component to resident education and clinical activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

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