Evaluation of Selected Aspects of the National Medicare Education Program: Final Design Report. 3.3 Defining Successful Outcomes


A successful campaign meets or exceeds its goals and objectives (Kotler et al. , 2002Kotler et al., 2002). Therefore, it is critical to establish specific, measurable, realistic, and meaningful campaign goals and objectives. It follows that successful outcomes would demonstrate that the campaign has met or exceeded its goals and objectives. One challenge in defining successful outcomes for the NMEP is that its goals are not very specific or quantifiable. For example, the goal related to creating awareness does not indicate the percentage of the beneficiary population that should be aware of Medicare’s new choices or an expected change in levels of awareness attributable to the campaign. As a result, it is difficult to define what absolute number or how much of a change is needed for the outcome to be considered successful. Because the NMEP is multifaceted, a true baseline does not really exist. However, the early evaluations of the Medicare & You handbook conducted by McCormack and colleagues can provide baseline measures of some outcomes, most notably Medicare-related knowledge prior to the distribution of the first Medicare & You handbook. Although no specific goals were set for how much the NMEP would be expected to increase Medicare-related knowledge over time, we can at least evaluate whether knowledge has increased or held steady in the years following the implementation of the NMEP. The same approach may be feasible with other measures such as awareness and use of different NMEP components (e.g., toll-free number, Web site).

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