Altus Dynamics Blog

Best Practices in Program Outcome Reporting

Posted by Stefanie Gause on Nov 18, 2015 9:00:00 AM


Program Outcome Reporting plays an important role in managing any type of Community Living Center. In fact, this type of data collection and reporting will help your organization make sound business decisions that benefit both your clients and your staff. However, your reports are only as good as the data you collect and in a busy workplace proper data collection can be difficult. The good news is that there are several Program Outcome Reporting practices your organization can incorporate into the workplace to simplify this process.

What the Purpose of Program Outcome Reporting?

Program Outcome Reporting enables your Community Living Organization to assess the ability of its programs and/or services to achieve the intended goal. These reports can also show funding sources, staff members, and volunteers how their time and money was used to help generate positive results. It involves establishing a clear set of objectives, and the collection, analysis and evaluation of the data. While this may seem quite time-consuming, it doesn't have to be when done correctly.

Who Benefits from Proper Outcome Reporting?

Program Outcome results are extremely beneficial both internally and externally. Program specific results will help your organization determine which programs are working well and where adjustments need to be made. Most importantly, this will maximize the benefits of the services your clients receive.

These results can also encourage your staff and volunteers, by reminding them just how important their time and commitment is to your organization and to your clients. In addition, these results can be used to provide your Community Living Organization with favorable public recognition by showing complete transparency. This in turn can help your organization attract new participants, recruit new employees and volunteers, increase funding, and generate community support.

What Data Is the Most Important to Collect?

The most important step in Program Outcome Reporting is to set your goals and objectives clearly, before you start collecting data. This will ensure that your organization is gathering the necessary information to obtain clear results. You certainly want to collect crucial information about each participant, such as the client's history, demographics, attendance, assessments, changes in behavior and/or skill level, and service start and end dates.

You also want to collect internal data, such as staff time, frequency of services offers, volunteer hours, and the facilities, equipment and supplies used. When determining exactly what information to track, it is best to gather as much data as possible. It is always better to have more information than necessary than to try to backtrack and obtain past details.

Barriers to Collecting Accurate Data

Unfortunately, collecting accurate data is not always easy. Many Community Living Organizations struggle with a variety of data-collecting barriers that may reduce the accuracy of their Programs Outcome Reports. One of the most common barriers is a lack of consistency. If there is not a well-designed data-collection process in place, your staff members and volunteers may not collect all the necessary information from clients, or record their information accurately, such as work hours and services provided.

Another common problem many organizations struggle with is time lags in reporting. The longer the time gap between when the events occur and when they are reported, the greater the risk for inaccurate or incomplete information to be recorded. Utilization of an easy-to-use recording system simplifies the data collection process for your employees. Data security is another major concern for Community Living Organizations and their participants. It is crucial to establish a secure location to store all personal and business information.

Benefits of Using Outcome Tracking Software

If your organization faces one or more data-collecting barriers, the use of reputable Outcome Tracking Software can help eliminate these issues. First, this type of software can be customized to collect the specific type of information your organization requires to produce useful Program Outcome Reports. This software is also very user-friendly, so your staff will be able to enter the required data in minutes. This will allow your team to focus more on providing exceptional participant care versus collecting required data.

In addition, every staff member will be prompted to enter the exact information for each client. This will promote consistency and lead to highly accurate reporting results. Most importantly, the software offers built-in security features to assist your organization in keeping the participants' records as secure as possible.

Tips for Sharing Results

Data collection is just the first step of the process. You also have to analyze the information gathered and transform it into a readable form for your participants, staff, volunteers, donors and the community at large. This can be done in several ways, including the creation of an official report, designing a newsletter that highlights the main results, or posting a blog to your organization's main web page. Another common reporting technique used by private businesses and non-profits is the use of infographics, which offer a variety of graphs and charts to highlight your Program Outcome results.

You clients deserve exceptional care. Learn how to reduce time spent on paperwork, forms and data management, so you can focus on what matters most. Download this free Client Care Guide today and learn more about how our Outcome Tracking Software can work for your Community Living Organization here.

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This Post Was Written By Stefanie Gause
Stefanie has always had a passion for the non-profit and public sectors with several years of experience in the education, assisted living, and social services industries.
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