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Table 5 Co-production of validated and acceptable outcome measures

From: Integrating research and system-wide practice in public health: lessons learnt from Better Start Bradford

Stage 1, Review the intervention’s logic model: Discuss the key programme outcomes as identified in the logic model and review the current measures for these. This will help to identify that not all outcomes in the logic model are being measured in a way that will show the effectiveness of the intervention. Explore how additional measures would also be useful for practice.
Stage 2, Identifying the optimal measure: The research team should identify all relevant validated measures that map onto the outcomes in the logic model, with a focus on free or low-cost options with easy administration procedures. These measures are then shared with the organisation leads, and then presented to the team of practitioners for discussion, and selection of measures for piloting. Where small changes to measures are possible without overtly affecting validity, this should be considered in response to the practitioners preferences.
Stage 3, Operational considerations: This will include implementing database changes and ensuring that reports can be completed from databases. Translation of measures should also be considered when working in ethnically diverse communities. Relying on interpreters or bi-lingual practitioners to translate an outcome measure can result in inconsistent use of terminology/meanings in complex assessments which may negatively influence the validity of the outcome.
Stage 4, Training of practitioners: This should involve careful planning of training at a time that is convenient for practitioners as well as ensuring support and buy-in from senior managers. Training is likely to work best when delivered by someone regarded as an expert and fellow practitioner, and when supported by a clear and comprehensive manual.
Stage 5, Piloting: The process of implementing the new measures should be done through negotiation with the team, with consideration for how the measures would impact on aspects of the practitioner’s work (e.g. time spent with clients, development of rapport with new clients, administration time) as well as evaluation needs (e.g. baseline measures, consistency of administration). A period of piloting the new measures to consider their feasibility and acceptability for practitioners and families should be completed. Throughout this time, the research team should check in with the team to consider ongoing changes and challenges.
Stage 6, Implementation: Feedback from the pilot, and consideration of the quantitative performance of the measures should be completed from the pilot before the measures are introduced as a part of standard practice.