Evaluating the Impact of Educational Interventions on Patients and Communities: A Conceptual Framework

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Abstract

Health professions education programs can have direct effects on patients and communities as well as on learners. However, few studies have examined the patient and community outcomes of educational interventions. To better integrate education and health care delivery, educators and researchers would benefit from a unifying framework to guide the planning of educational interventions and evaluation of their impact on patients.

The authors of this Perspective mirrored approaches from Miller’s pyramid of educational assessment and Moore and colleagues’ framework for evaluating continuing professional development to propose a conceptual framework for evaluating the impact of educational interventions on patients and communities. This proposed framework, which complements these existing frameworks for evaluating the impact of educational interventions on learners, includes four levels: (1) interaction; (2) acceptability; (3) individual outcomes (i.e., knowledge, skills, activation, behaviors, and individual health indicators); and (4) population outcomes (i.e., community health indicators, capacity, and disparities). The authors describe measures and outcomes at each level and provide an example of the application of their new conceptual framework.

The authors encourage educators and researchers to use this conceptual framework to evaluate the impact of educational interventions on patients and to more clearly identify and define which educational interventions strengthen communities and enhance overall health outcomes.

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