Communimetrics: A Communication Theory of Measurement in Human Service Settings

Paperback | July 15, 2009

byJohn S. Lyons

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To manage human services based on information, it is necessary to create reliable and valid information through measurement. The traditional approach to measurement in these settings has been psychometric theories (e.g., Nunally, 1978; Lord 1954; 1966); however, psychometric theories have been used to develop measures for purposes of research, not for service delivery. As a result, the focus of these theories of measurement has been on precision and internal consistency reliability. This focus results in measures that are often not helpful to the goals of measurement in service delivery. In 1956, Virginia Apgar created the first clinimetric measure as an assessment of functioning for new born children (Apgar, 1966). This measurement strategy, which focuses on the clinical utility of information, represents the first significant departure from psychometric theories in measurement in human service delivery. Clinimetrics has informed the development of a variety of simple measures that have proved useful in fast-paced medical environments.The primary reason for implementing measurement in human services is to communicate. Communication between the consumer and the provider; between the direct service provider and his/her supervisor; within a program, across programs, and across an entire system of services all must be supported by information. Effective management requires strong communication about the shared goals and objectives of the system (i.e., effectively helping people). Taking this logic and building on the concept of simplicity and clinical utility in clinimetrics, a communimetric theory of measurement is advanced that creates measures to optimize their communication value within service delivery applications (Lyons, 2004). Primary characteristics of a communimetric measure include that they are reliable and valid at an item level and immediately translatable into action with regard to service planning. The selection of items is guided by consideration of the information needed to make key decisions in the service delivery process. The measures then become tools-directly supporting the work. Implications for measurement design are considerable. The nature of reliability and validity create alternative considerations for this theory.During the past decade, communimetric measures have been developed for child-serving systems (e.g., child welfare, mental health, juvenile justice, schools), medical/surgical services, adult mental health services, and entrepreneurial development. More than 30,000 individuals have been trained in the reliable use of one of these tools, and these measures have been used to support the transformation of services in numerous large jurisdictions. Applications have been successfully implemented in Europe, the United States, Canada, and Asia.At the end of October 2007, in Boston, the 4th annual CANS Conference was dedicated to the use of one of these approaches. There were 270 attendees from 20 states and two Provinces. Registration was closed a week before the conference due to the high level of registration.

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From the Publisher

To manage human services based on information, it is necessary to create reliable and valid information through measurement. The traditional approach to measurement in these settings has been psychometric theories (e.g., Nunally, 1978; Lord 1954; 1966); however, psychometric theories have been used to develop measures for purposes of r...

From the Jacket

Measurement in human services means one thing: how well the effort serves clients. But the data doesn't exist in a vacuum and must be communicated clearly between provider and client, provider and management, and across systems. During the past decade, innovative communimetric measures have helped more than 50,000 professionals worldwi...

John S. Lyons, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry & Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University where he has served on the faculty for more than two decades. Dr. Lyons has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and five books including, "The Measurement and Management of Clinical Outcomes in Mental H...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.1 × 0.27 inPublished:July 15, 2009Publisher:Springer New YorkLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0387928219

ISBN - 13:9780387928210

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Table of Contents

Measurement in Human Service Enterprises: History and Challenges.- Measurement as Communication.- Designing a Communimetric Measure.- Defining a "Good" Communimetric Measurement Tool: Reliability and Validity Considerations.- The Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS).- The INTERMED.- The Entrepreneurial League System Assessment.- The Future of Measurement in Human Services Settings.- Appendix.

Editorial Reviews

From the reviews:"Communimetrics: A Communication Theory of Measurement in Human Service Settings is a text describing the historical aspects of communimetrics as well as its current state, application, and supporting data. It is the first book-length discussion on communimetrics and . sets a comparative standard for all future writing on the topic. . I would recommend this text for anyone primarily interested in psychological measurement. Those interested in finding ways to categorize complex human behaviors will also find this text interesting." (James J. Jakubow, PsycCRITIQUES, Vol. 55 (3), January, 2010)