A community readiness framework can help to identify communities ready for engagement with validated system dynamics models, according to a Georgia Health Policy Center paper recently published in System Dynamics Review. The framework, developed as part of the study, focuses on the preconditions that enable communities to effectively use models in their planning.
“There is an increasing need to expand the use of systems models to address large-scale health system transformation,” says lead author Karen Minyard, Ph.D., CEO of the Georgia Health Policy Center. “But, using models to address complex change requires carefully orchestrating community engagements. Too often an effective match is not made between the tools and the communities desiring insights. We see value in using this organizing framework to identify communities ready for engagement with validated models to accelerate both model adoption and, ultimately, improved population health.”
Local health systems and their community partners are looking for tools that help them to create a shared understanding of the broader system they seek to change. System dynamics simulation models are one of these tools that can help partners build create this shared vision, identify high-leverage strategies, and explore collaborative investment opportunities.
An evaluation was conducted of early community use of the ReThink Health Dynamics Model —a realistic, but simplified, portrait of a regional health system that supports multisector planning and strategy design. Using a realist evaluation, the team sought to understand the contextual characteristics and implementation processes that promoted or undermined effective engagement with the model in the first five pilot sites.
Through examining more than 50 factors, the team identified key factors affecting model use.
- Community stakeholders must be prepared to champion the modeling process, including accepting the utility of the model and its applicability to their context; possessing and leveraging their relationships and convening influence; and managing decisions and processes (e.g., defining geography to be employed and data gathering) during the model engagement.
- Modelers must convey this practice wisdom in constructive discussion and design of the engagement.
The community readiness framework, Elements Affecting Model Use, combines significant elements of practice wisdom in a concise format that appears to foster discussion between model developers and community practitioners in ways that enhance the likelihood of effective model engagement.
Paper coauthors include Tina Anderson Smith, Richard Turner, Bobby Milstein, Ph.D., and Lori Solomon.
To access the full paper and the community readiness framework, Elements Affecting Model Use, please click here.