Health Status Indicators-Variables

Health (clinical or biological) variables may be used for multiple purposes: a health status outcome measure, or a change in the level of risk. Blood pressure control and reduction in elevated levels is a primary measure of the impact of a hypertension management program. High levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in blood protect against heart attacks and provide an estimate of the amount of regular exercise and physical activity. An evaluator may want to assess serum HDL cholesterol or triglycerides as a screen for whether a person should receive a counseling and exercise intervention. A saliva or urine cotinine analysis score confirms reports of smoking status.

Variable Summary

There are an infinite number of variables to select for measurement by each evaluation. Each variable and measurement may have unique methods that must be known to the evaluation team. Each evaluation team must thoroughly understand the measurement science of each variable. Rather than focus on all possible variables, an evaluation should be very selective in choosing which to measure: high data quality, not quantity, should be the philosophy and objective of an evaluation. A thorough meta-analysis of the literature and expert consultation will define what variables are the core items that must be measured. As noted in Chapters 1 and 2, an HP-DP evaluation should define a very small number of high priority objectives and define the gold standard of measurement for each objective. Ask: Why are we collecting these types of data? How are we going to analyze the data on for each type of process, impact, or outcome variable? How can we achieve a 100% baseline and a > 90% follow-up assessment rate for core variables?

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