Evaluation of Selected Aspects of the National Medicare Education Program: Final Design Report. 4.2.3 Data Collection Activities and Suggested Instruments


We recommend purposeful sampling to select the nine employers, nine pharmacists, and nine SHIP programs for the case studies. Employers should be selected based on their size, kind of business, richness of retiree benefits, and location. Pharmacists should be selected to achieve geographic diversity as well as representation of large chains and small, privately owned pharmacies. We also recommend a mix of male and female pharmacists with varying ages. SHIP programs should be selected to achieve geographic diversity, diversity in the type of Medicare beneficiaries they serve, and whether they are operated by the Area Agency on Aging or the State Department of Insurance. We will also sample SHIP case study participants in different communities to ensure that we achieve diversity in internal and external funding and programs with more and less local infrastructure.

Data collection activities will include gathering descriptive information about the employer (e.g., type of benefits offered), SHIP program (e.g., number of volunteers, funding), pharmacists (e.g., patient population), and coalitions and/or professional associations (e.g., number of members, mission) that will enable adequate description of each organization. In addition to descriptive information collected about the organization, most data will come from personal interviews with individuals at the organization. Smaller employers may have just one or only a few human resources or benefits managers. However, larger employers are likely to have more than one person who administers benefits or makes decisions regarding retiree health insurance. If employers have more than one human resources employee or benefits manager, we recommend having discussions with each manager. Such discussions can be accomplished through one-on-one interviews or in a small group. In addition, if the human resources staff hold workshops or seminars for employees about Medicare or retiree benefits, scheduling the visit so data collection personnel could observe the workshops or seminars would be beneficial. We recommend interviewing several selected SHIP counselors and administrators. Finally, depending on the size of the pharmacy, more than one pharmacist may be employed. For large pharmacies, we recommend interviewing multiple pharmacists to get multiple perspectives. For the telephone interviews with employer-based health care coalitions and professional associations, we recommend interviewing one key individual at each selected organization (nine or fewer organizations total).

We recommend developing a form to systematically collect the descriptive or administrative information from each organization. In addition, we recommend developing a semistructured discussion guide to answer the research questions listed above. In conducting qualitative research, refining research tools is valuable as data are collected or new information is revealed or when particular questions have been thoroughly answered. In addition, we recommend developing a case study debriefing tool. This tool will serve as a template in which data can be entered regarding key issues addressed during the data collection to summarize highlights of the site visit either while on site or shortly after returning from the visit. These forms can be used to provide immediate information about key issues uncovered while on site, including any potential revisions to the semistructured discussion guide. We suggest that the interviews be audiotaped and transcribed.

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