Commentary Explores the Role of Technology in Evidence-Based Interventions

Posted January 16, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Mother and father look at a tablet with their child

In a com­men­tary for the jour­nal Pre­ven­tion Sci­ence, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Cyn­thia Weaver and 3C Institute’s Melis­sa DeRosier share insights on unit­ing tech­nol­o­gy, pro­gram devel­op­ers and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to enhance data access for pro­grams that are apply­ing their inter­ven­tions with­in large pub­lic systems.

The com­men­tary — which exam­ines and builds on the results of a study led by the Soci­ety for Pre­ven­tion Research — encour­ages devel­op­ers, sys­tems, researchers and fun­ders to:

  • Com­mit to equi­table implementation: 
    • inte­grate the cul­ture, his­to­ry and val­ues of the tar­get­ed com­mu­ni­ty into the design of evi­dence-based practices;
    • apply cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate mea­sures to improve desired out­comes and the abil­i­ty to expand; and
    • val­ue the voic­es of par­tic­i­pants to devel­op mea­sures most rel­e­vant to their experiences.
  • Increase equi­table access to inno­v­a­tive technologies: 
    • invest in cus­tomiz­ing cloud-based imple­men­ta­tion sup­port plat­forms to make data col­lec­tion a rou­tine part of pro­gram improve­ment and out­come eval­u­a­tion; and
    • pro­mote the use of mobile apps and web-based plat­forms that allow par­tic­i­pants to record their expe­ri­ences and pro­vide feed­back, increas­ing the diver­si­ty of per­spec­tives and mea­sures of pro­gram effectiveness.

Beyond these rec­om­men­da­tions, Weaver and DeRosier urge pre­ven­tion sci­en­tists to reflect on gaps in their pro­gram expan­sion strate­gies and work to devel­op inno­v­a­tive tools that can bridge these gaps. They also ask fun­ders of evi­dence-based prac­tices — includ­ing evi­dence-based inter­ven­tions — to con­sid­er how they can help pro­mote the devel­op­ment, test­ing and acces­si­bil­i­ty of such innovations.

It is extreme­ly impor­tant that all pro­grams have the tech­nol­o­gy to col­lect and own their data,” says Weaver, a senior asso­ciate in the Foundation’s Evi­dence-Based Prac­tice Group. When it comes to pro­grams devel­oped by peo­ple of col­or for peo­ple of col­or, the fund­ing of cus­tomized cloud-based plat­forms can make a big dif­fer­ence, allow­ing researchers to col­lect the data they need in real time, own it and use it to mea­sure how well their pro­gram is performing.”

Read Weaver and DeRosier’s com­men­tary in Pre­ven­tion Science

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