Community health worker encounter forms: a tool to guide and document patient visits and worker performance

Am J Public Health. 2012 Jul;102(7):e70-5. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300416. Epub 2012 May 17.


Objectives: We explored the benefits of using community health worker (CHW) encounter forms to collect data on patient interactions and assessed the effectiveness of these forms in guiding and directing interactions.

Methods: A 1-page standardized encounter form was developed to document topics discussed during visits with diabetes patients. A portion of the form was designed to be used as a script to guide the interaction and assist patients in setting appropriate self-management goals. Data were also collected via CHW work logs and interviews with CHWs and their supervisors to validate findings.

Results: Data were collected for 1198 interactions with 540 patients at 6 community health centers. Self-management goals were set during 62% of encounters. With respect to the most recent self-management goal set, patients who had set a challenging goal were more likely to be in the action stage of change than in other stages. Work logs revealed that CHWs engaged in a number of activities not involving direct patient interactions and thus not captured on encounter forms.

Conclusions: Evaluating and monitoring CHWs' daily activities has been challenging. Encounter forms have great potential for documenting the work of CHWs with patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Centers / organization & administration
  • Community Health Centers / standards
  • Community Health Workers / organization & administration*
  • Community Health Workers / standards
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Records*
  • Self Care / methods