The theory behind Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM).

Communimetrics – A Communication Theory of Measurement in Human Service Settings

Communimetrics is a measurement theory that arises from communication theory and is designed for applications of measurement in information system applications, particularly as they apply to human service enterprises. First proposed by Dr. John Lyons, the communimetric theory proposes that the primary purpose of measurement information is to communicate. For those of you who use the CANS, ANSA, FAST, RISE, or any other tool, the following 6 key principles should be familiar to you.

1. Measurement should be of the person, not the person in an intervention.  If interventions are in place, the measurement should be based on what the person’s status would be if those interventions were not in place.
2. Culture and development should be considered prior to establishing the level of measurement. Communimetrics measures are culturally neutral as they are common language approaches but must be sensitive to cultural and developmental factors prior to the application of the measurement process.
3. Measurement should, to the extent possible, be descriptive and free of etiological considerations. It is easier to reach consensus on the ‘what’ for a person than the ‘why’.
4. Items are selected for a communimetric measure based on their relevance to any decisions that must be made. Only relevant information is included.  Things that are the same for everyone or are not related to future decision making are excluded.
5. The levels of all items should be translatable into action levels. The measure must be non-arbitrary; every number must have immediate meaning and that meaning should be relevant to future actions.
6. A time frame for measurement is defined (e.g. 30 days, 24 hours) but those time frames reflect relevance during that time period, not observation of phenomenon during the time frame.

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 worldwide in health care, justice, and business settings deliver findings that enhance communication on all sides.


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