BH TIG Week: Lesson Learned: Simplify Paperwork by Terrence Tutchings

Hi everyone, Terry here again, owner of Terrence R. Tutchings, Ph.D. & Associates, a consulting company in which we provide training and support of evidence-based processes, services and data for management and accountability related to substance abuse intervention and treatment, HIV interventions, and public health campaigns and inter-group relations. In my blog yesterday, I discussed the importance of continuing to collect and report GPRA performance data—to keep the machinery running—even when faced with pressing governance challenges. In this blog, I focus on how we support those who report the data, by providing tools that help to simplify the reporting process.

Lesson Learned: As an evaluator, if you require clients to complete what they view as “more paperwork” I have found repeated success in overcoming (often justified) resistance by simplifying paperwork. Paperwork reduction is a good thing! Work with service staff/community health workers (CHWs), to find out what is going to work best to simplify their record-keeping. For example, help supervisors by using Excel sheets that aggregate CHWs’ process-evaluation activities. Streamline program reporting by having required performance elements “all in one place.” Plan forms for incorporation of widgets and apps. Morph record-keeping to touchscreen handhelds for encrypted reporting. These are simple strategies that reduce the burden on staff.

Example: Modify forms to include specific GPRA content. Contracts and grants usually list “required activities.”

This is an example of a modification made to a mileage-and-meals reimbursement form: “Reason for travel/expense.”  Codes combine and simplify reporting activities required by State-mandated Protocol Based Counseling and GPRA’s Evidence Based Interventions –

Modification of another section of the form replaced “Results” with three fill-in boxes to remind staff that we document outcomes and impacts –

The format brings together contract requirements and individual reporting responsibilities in a form that “tells the whole story” of an important and complicated intervention program.


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Behavioral Health (BH) TIG Week with our colleagues in Behavioral Health Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our BH TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “BH TIG Week: Lesson Learned: Simplify Paperwork by Terrence Tutchings”

  1. “More paperwork” is a deterring thought that could affect the quality and resistance of the client to fill out. I find your lesson learned intriguing in that by simplifying the paper workload the client can become more receptive to the evaluators work.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.