Evaluation of the linkAges Ecosystem: a Disruptive Innovation to Support Aging In Place

Dates: 2013-2017

State: California

Client(s): Palo Alto Medical Foundation's David Druker Center

Services: Applied Research & Evaluation, Health Systems Transformation

Technical Expertise: Aging, Health Care Reform

Website: http://innovation.pamf.org

Evaluation of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s linkAges Ecosystem: a Disruptive Innovation to Support Aging In Place

The population of older adults (aged 65 or older) is increasing in the United States with significant implications for the health system and the community. Many older adults require support from family caregivers, social services, and the health-care system, including long-term care facilities.

To respond to the needs of older adults and family caregivers with an approach that addresses comprehensive wellbeing, the David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation (Innovation Center) within the Palo Alto Medical Foundation is developing a program called linkAges. linkAges will assist older adults to age successfully in the community by disrupting the traditional business model of fee-for-service sick care delivery and addressing social determinants of health that impact quality of life for individuals and communities. linkAges is a community-based and multigenerational ecosystem that will engage and activate existing resources within communities to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors and family caregivers.

Recognizing the need for a robust evaluation of their project, the Innovation Center contracted with JSI implement a three-year mixed-methods evaluation of linkAges that includes a formative and summative evaluation. JSI will document the process of program implementation and assess short- and medium-term outcomes, including awareness of resources, caregiver burden, loneliness, and quality of life. Evaluation activities will include user analytics, pre/post participant surveys, user satisfaction surveys, focus groups, key informant interviews, and case studies. Interim and final reports will address topics that include: 1) the extent to which the program was implemented; 2) the association between frequency/quality of use and outcomes; 3) the impact of linkAges on outcomes; 4) comparison of linkAges impact to available benchmarks; and 5) qualitative results of participants’ experiences with linkAges. The evaluation builds on prior services JSI provided to build consensus around the evaluation goals and strategy, including the development of a logic model and evaluation plan. The multi-year pilot program launched in Mountain View, CA, in April 2013. Learn more about linkAges at innovation.pamf.org