Defense Centers of Excellence – Health Program Evaluation

Challenge

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) serves to promote the effective operation of psychological health and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) programs, both of which are used to treat service members, veterans and their families. The Defense Department assigned DCoE to evaluate the effectiveness of all psychological health and TBI programs by identifying gaps and redundancies in programmatic efforts and identifying opportunities for quality and outcome improvements.

Program evaluation is a complex and systematic process that should begin before the program is implemented. It should also be conducted periodically throughout the life of the program. This process can be difficult due to the limited ability to gather necessary quality and outcome information. In addition, comprehensive program evaluations are costly and very time-consuming and can often last up to three years.

Solution

Engility developed a standardized evaluation protocol that applies consistent research-based standards designed to evaluate program effectiveness and detect opportunities for quality and performance improvement. Our team of subject matter experts, including former active duty service members, has developed a rapid evaluation process capable of capturing the same breadth and depth of information as standard evaluation processes in a shortened amount of time—usually about six months.

The protocol can be used with a variety of program types, including prevention, treatment and implementation. Engility scientists support four key areas: (1) program assessment and evaluation toward continuous quality improvement, (2) state-of-the-art training and education, (3) establishment of a central and secure data repository and (4) creation of standardized and validated metrics for assessing program effectiveness. Engility contributes to key Defense Department senior leaders’ abilities to make evidence-based decisions regarding resource alignment through the prioritization of initiatives and government funds allocated to program operations, addressing the Defense Department’s most difficult resource allocation challenges for service members.

Benefits/Achievements

Engility’s protocols and expertise reduce the time and expense of designing, assessing, reporting on and characterizing multiple types of programs, enabling decision-makers to prioritize operations and make informed fiscal decisions. Engility has already completed over 200 baseline program evaluations, all of which directly benefit America’s military members and their families. As federal and state governments and public and private institutions increasingly call for the evaluation of new and existing programs to ensure program effectiveness and efficient use of resources, rapid evaluation approaches will become more common, particularly in the public health community.