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Let's Discuss! Using the PARTNER Tool to Track and Analyze Community Partnerships

Content on this page is provided for reference purposes only. It is no longer maintained and may now be outdated.

February's cyber-seminar was an exploration of the PARTNER Tool, (Program to Analyze, Record, and Track Networks to Enhance Relationships).  Dr. Danielle Varda introduced us to the tool and it's purpose and use and then Dr. Lea Ayers LaFave and Julia Ruschmann shared with use how their organizations are implementing the tool and the impact it has had on their work and collaborations.  The presentation shows the depth and variety of applications in which PARTNER could be used. 

Now it is your turn to share your experience and knowledge...ask a question of the speakers or your fellow R2R members, share your stories of how you are addressing and implementing patient-centered care.  What lessons have you learned or tools have you used that others might benefit from? What has been your experience in using the PARTNER tool or in trying to develop and measure your partnerships.

Join us in the discussion!

If you missed the live seminar, the archive will be in approximately one week.  Watch and then come share your thoughts.

For more information about PARTNER and the resources discussed in this seminar, you can view the PARTNER tool and access the training resources at: http://www.partnertool.net/ and read more about the case studies from Florida and New Hampshire.

Additionally, here are links to two articles with additional information:


Posts/Comments

Based on the tremendous

Based on the tremendous number of great questions that came in during the seminar, we were unable to get to them all during the seminar.  Below are those we were unable to get to.  We have posed these questions to the speakers to respond, however, we also encourage community members to respond and share your own thoughts and experiences as well.

For Dr. Danielle Varda:

  1. Are there any community examples where the PARTNER tool was used to track progress on a performance measure related to "improving partnership and community support"?
  2. Thanks for the great presentation! I'm a Knowledge Broker working in Canada. I had a question re: the PARTNER survey.  How did you determine what constructs to include in the survey? (i.e., role of key players, quality of relationships, trust, etc.).  Is there a model that you used? A paper you would recommend?
  3. Are you able to show relationship between organizations (private, public, not for profit) and individuals (such as community member with influence) that are all working to reduce late stage breast cancer in a small community?
  4. We are a much smaller organization with 4 partners.  Can you please speak to the effectivenes and appropriateness of this tool for smaller groups?
  5. Does the survey tool not allow comments or any qualitative data?
  6. Who owns the data after the tool is completed? the agency?
  7. The presenters discussed using SNA for organizations rather than individuals. How has their planning addressed the difference between an organization and a person (who might leave, not have authority, etc.) within an organization?

For Dr. Lea LaFave:

  1. You spoke about the size of your state and the risk of partner saturation. Can you talk more about the risks and pitfalls of having partners that wear many hats and participate in several networks as it relates to utilizing PARTNER data? Thanks. --Nicholas Oliver, MPA, CAE, Manager of The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island

For Cindy:

  1. Can you share more detailed information on the specifics of how you used this and how it was helpful beyond more traditional coalition surveys for CCC programs?

Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful questions and comments and I apologize that we were unable to get to them all during the seminar, we hope this discussion here will prove useful in answering your questions. 

Thank you for the opportunity

Thank you for the opportunity to present PARTNER!  I'm inserting a short answer for each of the questions below...

1. Are there any community examples where the PARTNER tool was used to track progress on a performance measure related to "improving partnership and community support"?

PARTNER is often used for this purpose. Julia's example in the presentation was a good example of this topic. Her evaluation was not of an existing collaborative, but rather an example of how you might use the tool to identify the roles and perceptions that organizations play in the community.  In her example, she was interested in the role that the public health department played in the community, as a way to improve partnerships and gain community support for their work.  There are many other examples, as this is a common way to use PARTNER by collecting network data.

2. Thanks for the great presentation! I'm a Knowledge Broker working in Canada. I had a question re: the PARTNER survey. How did you determine what constructs to include in the survey? (i.e., role of key players, quality of relationships, trust, etc.). Is there a model that you used? A paper you would recommend?

The constructs were developed during a year long project where we interviewed a large number of key informants made up of "end-users" (that is, people who would be using the tool in the future) to identify what was important to them in terms of measurement and how they were operationalizing these measures.  We also had an adivsory group overseeing the project.  From this work, we identified what we call the "Core Dimensions of Connectivity in Public Health Collaboratives" (a paper published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice) and subsequently the PARTNER constructs. We are currently doing work to validate these measures by developing a number of evidence-based analyses to better understand how collations function.

3.  Are you able to show relationship between organizations (private, public, not for profit) and individuals (such as community member with influence) that are all working to reduce late stage breast cancer in a small community?

Yes, this would be a very appropriate project for use with the PARTNER tool.  We commonly include organizations from a diverse range of sectors.  The topic that suggest would fit into the kind of projects that are most commonly evaluated by PARTNER users.

4.  We are a much smaller organization with 4 partners. Can you please speak to the effectivenes and appropriateness of this tool for smaller groups?

While the PARTNER tool can be used for smaller groups, it is possible that you might not learn a lot of new information.  Something to consider before using the tool is whether answers to the survey questions will help you better function together as a group.  While your four organizations might know each other, you might not have taken stock of the resources each group can contibute, perceptions of success, and perceptions of one another's strategic value. 

5.  Does the survey tool not allow comments or any qualitative data?

Currently the survey does not, however we will have this option within a few months.  Check back in April/May 2012!  We are very excited about this new function of the survey/analysis tool!

6.  Who owns the data after the tool is completed? the agency?

The data is stored in the PARTNER database and is anonymous to the PARTNER research team.  We are willing to remove it from the database at the agency's request.  In return for use of the tool, we sometimes ask managers to allow us to include the data in our own analysis (we always ensure anonymity of all collaboratives and organizations).

7.  The presenters discussed using SNA for organizations rather than individuals. How has their planning addressed the difference between an organization and a person (who might leave, not have authority, etc.) within an organization?

Both individuals and organizations can be identified as respondents/members of a collaborative in PARTNER. It is up to the manager to decide how they want to use the tool.  However, we recommend representing nodes as either organizations or individuals, but not mixing them within an analysis (specifically because it can be difficult to identify each).  That said, weveral collaboratives have used both organizations and individuals successfully.  We (the PARTNER team) can help a group think through how they might want to do this, however it is really up to the group to keep these considerations in mind when interpretting the data.

You spoke about the size of

You spoke about the size of your state and the risk of partner saturation. Can you talk more about the risks and pitfalls of having partners that wear many hats and participate in several networks as it relates to utilizing PARTNER data? Thanks. --Nicholas Oliver, MPA, CAE, Manager of The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island

I am thinking about the great potential for PARTNER to support the development of coalitions addressing issues beyond substance abuse prevention. Our concern is mainly about the burden of asking the same person to complete the survey on behalf of multiple coalitions or collaboratives. While this has not presented as a problem, we are aware of its potential as a problem based on our work in NH. For example, in our work supporting regional substance abuse prevention network development, there were several organization that worked with more than one regional network  (e.g., the medical center, a statewide organization, the university, etc.).  Because we sent out a survey for each of 10 regions, some individuals recieved invitations to participate in several surveys.  Even in larger organizations there is often only one (or two) individuals who would be able to respond based on their work with the network, so that person was asked to respond to several different surveys. In some cases the individual serves as the link between the organization and the community, and that person may be identified as contacts for surveys about coalitions addressing a range of issues. School nurses are another group of key players in public health at the community level who are likely to be recognized by coalitions working on a range of issues. The United Way is another example.

We have also had the experience of a single individual being identified as the contact person for more than one organization within a coalition (which will work only if the individual has two unique identifiers because PARTNER is programmed to prevent duplicate entries).

Since we are all so very busy,  the risk exists that a person could feel that they have already completed it, and therefore are not interested in completing it again.

I would like to thank all of

I would like to thank all of the presenters for their presentatiions!  It was really interesting to hear how the PARTNER tool is being used in practice!  

As I mentioned at the end of the seminar the ComprehensiveCancer Control National Partners (CCCNP) used PARTNER tool in 2011 to help assess our partnership.  The CCCNP is not a large coalition like those that were presented during the cyber-seminar.   ((There were 16 organizations in the CCCNP when the evaluation was conducted.)  A majority of the partnering organizations have been members of the CCCNP for many years.  With a small coalition like this, the results of the evaluation were not surprising.  However,  it helped the CCCNP members gain an understanding of how members of the partnership interact , the views of member organizations about the value of the CCCNP and what each member organization sees that they were contributing to the partnership.  Having visual representations of the results made it easy for people to understand the findings as opposed to just presenting data in spreadsheets.  The results also helped us think about potentially revisiting our strategic planning efforts so that we could leverage our strengths and expertise.

Given our experience using PARTNER tool, the members of the CCCNP felt that this tool would be a useful addition to the evaluation toolbox of  state CCC coalitions.