U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention - Leading the effort to treat and prevent diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives

Creating Strong Diabetes Programs: Plan a Trip to Success!

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Essential Elements for Step 6: Keeping Track of Data

It is essential for diabetes programs to collect good information (data) and keep track of it. Just like when we go on a trip we need to keep track of how much money we have and how much money we spend. We may not think that we are collecting information and keeping track of ‘data’, but that is what we are doing. Doing this helps diabetes programs show what they have accomplished.

Data is information that is collected in a systematic way or gathering accurate information, and carefully measuring and documenting it. Data should be collected before and after the program to show that the results are due to the program effects. The people responsible for the data will need to have training and skills on how to code and enter data into a database, as well as how to analyze and interpret the data.

What are some things your program may need to keep track of?

  • How the funds were used. Keep track of and document receipts and payroll expenses and document using budget spreadsheets.
  • Activities. Keep track of and document the diabetes program’s activities with attendance logs, clinical measures, curriculum implemented and so on.
  • What people learned. Keep track of what people have learned and document with pre-post surveys.
  • How peoples’ behavior changed. Keep track of participation in walking clubs and document time spent walking each day using logs.
  • Changes in physical measures. Keep track of A1c levels and document over time.
  • Changes in health policies. Keep track of health-related policies and document any changes in policies such as a ban on the sale of sugary drinks in clinics and schools.
  • Changes in the environment. Keep track of physical activity locations and document with changes made, such as walking paths established.

What are the two types of data programs may decide to collect to strengthen their results? down arrow up arrow

  1. Quantitative data – usually involves numbers, like the diabetes outcomes and audit data.
  2. Qualitative data – usually involves words about how people feel or think.

How can you collect quantitative data? down arrow up arrow

  • Ask questions to find out how much, how many and to what extent.
  • Tally the results in simple ways, such as percent and/or the numbers, such as attendance. These can be done without special techniques.
  • If more complex techniques to analyze the data are needed, your diabetes program may need additional assistance.

What methods would be followed when asking Qualitative? down arrow up arrow

  • Hold focus groups with participants. Focus groups are small meetings with specified questions to capture people’s feelings and thoughts about a special issue.
  • Use storytelling approaches such as talking circles or oral history interviews.
  • Conduct one-to-one in-depth interviews.

Will the Visual Planning Tool (or Road Map) help determine what data to collect, measure, and document? down arrow up arrow

Yes, the Visual Planning Tool helps your program determine what data needs to be collected on the following:

  • Products – direct result of what the program did and things that can be counted.
    Example: Make measurements and document the numbers of participants who attended the diabetes classes.
  • Results - The changes occurred as a direct result of the programs’ activities.
    Example: Collect data, make measurements, and document change in percent of foot examinations performed.
  • Impacts - The long term consequences of the program usually affect community, society or environment.
    Example: Keep track of and document the school district’s policy about physical activity in the curriculum. (school)

How do you know the data you collected makes sense? down arrow up arrow

  • People responsible for the data will need to have training and skills on how to code and enter data.
  • Also, they need to know how to analyze and interpret the data.


Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention | Phone: 1-844-IHS-DDTP (1-844-447-3387) | diabetesprogram@ihs.gov