|Thompson, Deborah - Debbe|
Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2006
Publication Date: 10/9/2006
Citation: Dansky, K.H., Thompson, D., Sanner, T. 2006. A framework for evaluating eHealth research. Evaluation and Program Planning. 29(4):397-404. Interpretive Summary: eHealth programs are in their infancy. Programs need to be evaluated to determine their effectiveness. This article proposes a framework for evaluating eHealth programs. This article will help others identify and understand important elements of eHealth evaluation.
Technical Abstract: Health care is in the midst of a consumer-oriented technology explosion. Individuals of all ages and backgrounds have discovered eHealth. But the challenges of implementing and evaluating eHealth are just beginning to surface, and, as technology changes, new challenges emerge. Evaluation is critical to the future of eHealth. This article addresses four dimensions of eHealth evaluation: (1) design and methodology issues; (2) challenges related to the technology itself; (3) environmental issues that are not specific to eHealth but pose special problems for eHealth researchers; and (4) logistic or administrative concerns of the evaluation methodology selected. We suggest that these four dimensions must be integrated to provide a holistic framework for designing and implementing eHealth research projects, as well as for understanding the totality of the eHealth intervention. The framework must be flexible enough to adapt to a variety of end users, regardless of whether the end user is a healthcare organization, a for-profit business, a community organization, or an individual. The framework is depicted as a puzzle with four interlocking pieces.