Tracking and Evaluation (T&E) Core
Tracking and Evaluation (T&E) is an indispensable tool required to define and facilitate the short and long-term success of a complex research program, and is now a required key component activity (KCA) for all IDeA-CTRs. Over the first four years of the Delaware Clinical and Translational Research (DE-CTR) ACCEL Program, all Cores, including T&E, have undergone remarkable transformation. T&E will proceed apace in tracking the activities, out- puts, and impact of each Core and the synergies among them. Moving forward, T&E will focus on improved communication, expanded interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations, optimization of decision-making, and resource-sharing. The ACCEL Program is particularly fortunate to have established a close collaboration with the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research (SCTR) Institute, a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program at our partner Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). As we continue to strengthen our connections with SCTR, we propose to expand the capabilities of T&E by building on our existing relationships in an increasingly dynamic and participatory fashion that incorporates CTSA evaluation best practices.
We will use T&E Liaisons embedded in each Core and at each institution to define and update Core-specific metrics, track activities and collect data, and facilitate close communication and collaboration with all Core members. Reporting will include iterative feedback directly to Cores on performance and progress, detailed progress reports to leadership, and verbal and written reports to NIGMS. T&E will work with ACCEL leadership to provide quality assessments, target specific areas for improvement, and augment performance. In this renewal application, we pro- pose a plan for T&E that is less traditional and more dynamic. We will incorporate newer evaluation models used by SCTR and other CTSAs, including:
- Results Based Accountability (RBA) to take into account the unique qualities of each Core regarding program processes, outcomes and effectiveness;
- Utilization Focused Evaluation (UFE) to incorporate, from the beginning, active involvement of intended users of evaluation data in understanding and contributing to collection of that data;
- Developmental Evaluation (DE) Theory to emphasize a real-time approach and flexibility in data tracking in the context of new programmatic initiatives for each Core; and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) to increase efficiency, limit waste, improve quality, and enhance cost-effectiveness of each Core’s programmatic initiatives.
- Developmentally define metrics that guide data collection, analysis and reporting for each KCA to aid ACCEL Leadership in directing program improvement, expansion and efficient use of resources.
- Monitor and report progress towards KCA Specific Aims and overall program accomplishments delivered via standardized reports and real-time web-based interfaces.
- Assure quality of T&E activities by monitoring processes and products, and by implementing process improvements to reduce errors and improve efficiency.
- Develop and share best practices in tracking and evaluation across institutions and in close partnership with other IDeA programs, including the National CTR Evaluators Group, and SCTR.
We will expand our collaboration with evaluation partners at SCTR, and share the knowledge gained with our local partners at each ACCEL institution, Delaware IDeA (INBRE and COBRE) Programs, the community, and increasingly with those representing national IDeA organizations and the National CTR Evaluators Group to better incorporate these models,. Importantly, the role of T&E will evolve in parallel with the changing programmatic initiatives of ACCEL. To date, we have measured the expansion, utilization and products of new ACCEL infrastructure. Going forward, we will increasingly address collaboration and engagement at all levels, with an emphasis on the needs of the community.