“The Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) Program, established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), awarded grants for programs to train Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients and other low-income individuals in high-demand healthcare professions. The Administration for Children and Families required…all 32 HPOG grantees funded in the first round of programs (in 2010) to use the HPOG Performance Reporting System (PRS) to track participant characteristics, engagement in activities and services, and training and employment outcomes” (p.2).
“The HPOG National Implementation Evaluation (NIE) included a sub-study to examine how HPOG grantees used performance information to manage and inform decisions about their programs. Performance information is the set of data and measures that programs use to carry out performance measurement. Performance measurement is a tool to help organizations know whether their programs and services are performing expected tasks intended to lead to desired results, and the extent to which specified outcomes are achieved…
In the HPOG Program, program management information systems (MIS), such as the Performance Reporting System (PRS), served as the main source of performance information” (p.5).
“This report is part of the HPOG National Implementation Evaluation…It describes how HPOG grantees used the PRS and other sources of performance information to manage their programs, identify areas in need of change, and make programmatic improvements. The report is based on a review of documents such as grantee performance progress reports, a survey of HPOG program directors, and interviews with a subset of these directors” (p.2).
“The research questions addressed in the sub-study included:
- How did grantees use performance information to manage their programs? What types of performance information did they most commonly use and/or consider most useful for managing their programs?
- What sources of information did grantees use to identify the need for program change?
- What was the role of performance information in the changes grantees made to their program structure or focus?
- How did grantees change the way they used performance information during the HPOG Program grant period? How did differences in grantees’ past experience with performance information affect their use of this information during the HPOG Program grant period?” (p.6).
Major Findings & Recommendations
“Overall, most HPOG grantees participating in this sub-study used performance information not just for the required purpose—to track program outcomes for grant performance reporting—but also as a tool for day-to-day program management and to identify the need for program improvements” (p.22). “Key findings include: • Most grantees used performance information, including PRS data, to manage their programs. The most common uses included developing goals or targets, tracking participants’ progress, motivating staff, communicating about program progress, and making decisions about procedures or policies. • Half of the grantees reported learning about the need for a programmatic change from PRS data. While feedback from various stakeholders was the most common way grantees identified the need for program change, PRS data often provided additional guidance. • A majority of grantees used other management information systems (MIS) in addition to the PRS. However, most grantees reported that PRS performance information was more useful than information from their other MIS, especially for the program management functions described above. • Some grantees reported increased use of performance information, particularly PRS data, over the course of the program. Several described how they grew more familiar with the PRS reporting tools over time, and how they coordinated the use of their own systems with the PRS. Many grantees offered ideas about how the PRS could be improved or enhanced to make it more useful for program management. The suggestions for improvement included enhancing the PRS’ capacity for measuring progress along career pathways, and for recording additional follow-up information about participants” (p.2). (Abstractor: Author)