Continue Your Organization Assessment
So, you began your organizational assessment and you know have a much better idea of what the challenges and opportunities are for your organizational.
In fact, you now hopefully have some support, a team, and a general timeline!
So, what next?
You need to continue your organizational assessment. There’s a lot you need to know in order to make really good design decisions.
Without this upfront information, you probably will run into issues where your perfect design doesn’t fit the real world of your organization.
The more you know up front, the less you may have to return to the drawing board later!
First, understand a few important details about your patient population.
- Is English a second language for a large proportion of your patients? This will impact the languages chosen for your given screening method (telephone, paper, electronic or face-to-face).
- What is the level of literacy and health literacy in your population? How does your organization determine literacy level for individual patients? This may influence your choice of screening method or increase your need to identify alternative screening methods when they arise for these patients. Additionally, you may need to provide more training for those in your organization who are doing the screening or brief intervention to effectively communicate with patients with varying levels of health literacy.
- How have your patients responded to phone calls or mailings from your clinic or department in the past? For example, some organizations have attempted to use pre-visit telephone-based screening or post-visit telephone brief intervention. Both have met with varying degrees of success. These interventions can be costly to set up so doing some homework including patient surveys or small pilots can be helpful for you to understand how your patients will respond before you launch into a broader program.
- What is the age range and gender of your patient population? While some substance use screening tools have been validated in adults such as the AUDIT, other screens may be more appropriate for other demographic groups such as elderly, adolescent or pregnant patients. As yet, there is no one-size-fits-all for screening for all substances in all patients. Like many organizations, you and your team need to determine which screen is the best fit for your patients and your organization.