Establishing a Common Set of Measures for Tele-Behavioral Health and Tele-Substance Abuse

Research center:
Rural Telehealth Research Center
Phone: 319.384.3830
Lead researcher:
Project funded:
September 2018
Project completed:
November 2019

The Rural Telehealth Research Center (RTRC) worked cooperatively with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to establish data collection protocols and tools on a set of measures that are being used for a cross-grantee evaluation of the Evidence-Based Tele-Behavioral Health Network Program (EB THNP) as specified in the funding opportunity announcement HRSA-18-032 as well as the recently added Substance Abuse Treatment Telehealth Network Grant Program (SAT TNGP) as specified in the funding opportunity announcement HRSA 17-122.

The primary purpose of this project was to establish data collection protocols and tools for use in a cross-grantee evaluation. Candidate measures were gleaned from the literature and stakeholder organizations. The research team developed a three-round scoring process that involved the researcher team, subject matter experts, and EB THNP grantees. The result of the scoring process narrowed the list to 11 measures including survey instruments for each of the four clinical outcome measures. The team prioritized instruments that had no associated costs, had been used previously to track change over time, and were a reasonable length for grantees to administer. Final data elements were reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget while RTRC and the grantees proceeded with data use agreements and institutional review board approvals. Efforts also involved work with grantees to identify non-telehealth encounters that could serve as a matched comparison sample for comparative effectiveness research efforts.