Updated March 9, 2023
Improving TB Prevention and Control Through Program Evaluation
Public health programs can use program evaluation to improve TB prevention and control activities. Explore the following links to learn more about program evaluation resources.
Tools to assist programs with evaluation activities, from identifying a focus area to applying evaluation findings
The TB Program Evaluation Network (PEN) and CDC offer evaluation support to TB programs
DTBE Data Sources
State and local TB programs can monitor their performance in achieving national TB program objectives and targets, track their contact investigation activities, and assess their performance in relation to other TB programs by using available data sources developed by CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE).
- The National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP) is an Internet-based performance-monitoring tool that allows TB programs to assess their progress toward achieving National TB Program Objectives and Targets.
- Learn more about National TB Targets and how they are calculated.
- The Aggregate Reports for Tuberculosis Program Evaluation (ARPE) collects information about TB program activities on contact investigations and targeted testing. Each year, DTBE publishes the Contact Investigations Report (ARPE Data) summarizing contact investigation and LTBI treatment data submitted to CDC by TB programs and describing program performance in meeting National TB Program Objectives and Performance Targets.
- Each year, DTBE publishes a State and City Report summarizing data submitted to CDC. This report allows TB programs to compare their progress in achieving national TB objectives to the progress of other TB programs with similar TB incidence.
- Beginning in 2020, CDC-funded state and city TB programs with ≥150 TB cases are required to submit targeted testing data (as outlined in the cooperative agreements). TB programs report results of their targeted testing activities to CDC by entering the data into the Aggregate Reports for Tuberculosis Program Evaluation (ARPE) form through the National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP) performance-monitoring tool. The Targeted Testing Report summarizes targeted testing data that is submitted to CDC by TB programs.
Other Data Sources for TB Programs
A common misconception is that evaluation is something you do after program activities have been implemented and completed. Ideally, evaluation should be included in the planning phase and continued throughout the entire course of the program. Although eliminating TB is the long-term goal of your program, reaching that goal means evaluating your efforts and using that information to continuously improve program performance and practice. Even if you are still in the program planning process, you can evaluate who is involved and why. By conducting evaluation activities early in the program planning process, you are laying the groundwork for better strategic planning, data accuracy, and stronger collaboration with partners, and paving the way to confidently verify how your program has contributed to intended outcomes.
Evaluations can be as different as the programs being evaluated. Program leadership and staff decide how complex an evaluation needs to be. Starting small is often a good idea, and you probably already have valuable information you can use in your evaluation.
Program evaluation often needs to include many types of partnerships and collaborations. The good news is that everyone won’t need to commit the same amount of time and energy to the process. Often a small team, one that is consistently and intensively involved and engaged in the evaluation process, can be an effective way to keep the process manageable.
Good program evaluation shows how well you are using your resources. Are the activities working? If so, wonderful! Now you know for sure. Do they need to be modified? Have you been duplicating efforts without realizing it? Are your activities ineffective? This is also great information to have so that you use your financial resources most efficiently or you can identify where to make improvements. Program evaluation not only reveals how effectively you are using your resources, it can be a way to showcase your successful activities or components to stakeholders. Don’t forget that you can start small and scale up as you are able. You already track information for funders and other stakeholders. Consider what you can do with the information you already collect during normal program operations.
Program evaluation does not necessarily require a significant time commitment. Although effort will be needed, it will be time well spent to have conducted a thorough and useful evaluation with the time you are able to dedicate. As a result of doing an evaluation, you might also identify time savings that can be applied in other priority areas.
You might find that some of what you are doing can be done better. Learning organizations — that is, organizations that learn from experience to continually improve their program practices — understand that both success and failure provide constructive feedback for building a better program. Being flexible in this way will show that your program is adaptable and committed to continuous improvement.
TB Program Evaluation Resources
The National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP)
NTIP is a monitoring system for tracking the progress of U.S. TB control programs toward achieving the national TB program objectives.
- National TB Program Objectives and Performance Targets for 2025
- Using the National TB Indicators Project to Select a Focus Area for Program Evaluation
- The National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP)– Fact sheet
- NTIP User Guide
- NTIP Companion for Data Managers
- Understanding the Cohort Review Process
- Monitoring Tuberculosis Programs MMWR 2010; 59 (No.10); 295-298