Outcome Measures

Written by Kimberly Clark
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The term "outcome measures" is commonly used to quantify the success or effectiveness of a particular program. It is the process of setting up specific performance milestones in hopes of obtaining unbiased results. In essence, establishing outcome measures involves determining some acceptable percentage of a whole or calculating a particular rate of success. Specific software can be useful in using your data to obtain outcome measures, especially since some human error can be eliminated that way.

When using an outcome measurement system to evaluate results, the first step is to define the criteria that will be used to impartially determine the success of the project. For instance, when qualifying the effectiveness of a particular vaccine, the outcome measure used could involve determining how many individuals actually contracted the disease out of the total number of people vaccinated.

This system of measurement is commonly used to objectively assess how successful a particular program is. It could be used to decide whether or not a patient is adequately progressing after undergoing certain courses of treatment. Other possible uses for this method of measurement are calculating the production rate in industry as well as assessing how well a social service or community sponsored program is faring.

Asking the Right Questions

Basically, the process of establishing ideal outcome measures is just a matter of asking the right set of questions. For example, does receiving prenatal care decrease the infant mortality rate or does graduating from college increase person's chances of finding a job? By instituting specific questions as determinants, this essentially removes the personal subjectivity from the final equation.

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