Evaluation of initial progress to implement Common Metrics across the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium

Introduction: The Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium, about 60 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported CTSA hubs at academic health care institutions nationwide, is charged with improving the clinical and translational research enterprise. Together with the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), the Consortium implemented Common Metrics and a shared performance improvement framework.

Methods: Initial implementation across hubs was assessed using quantitative and qualitative methods over a 19-month period. The primary outcome was implementation of three Common Metrics and the performance improvement framework. Challenges and facilitators were elicited.

Results: Among 59 hubs with data, all began implementing Common Metrics, but about one-third had completed all activities for three metrics within the study period. The vast majority of hubs computed metric results and undertook activities to understand performance. Differences in completion appeared in developing and carrying out performance improvement plans. Seven key factors affected progress: hub size and resources, hub prior experience with performance management, alignment of local context with needs of the Common Metrics implementation, hub authority in the local institutional structure, hub engagement (including CTSA Principal Investigator involvement), stakeholder engagement, and attending training and coaching.

Conclusions: Implementing Common Metrics and performance improvement in a large network of research-focused organizations proved feasible but required substantial time and resources. Considerable heterogeneity across hubs in data systems, existing processes and personnel, organizational structures, and local priorities of home institutions created disparate experiences across hubs. Future metric-based performance management initiatives across heterogeneous local contexts should anticipate and account for these types of differences.

Supplementary Materials:  Welch et al. supplementary material. Figure S1 and Tables S1-S7

Cite this article: Welch LC, Tomoaia-Cotisel A, Noubary F, Chang H, Mendel P, Parajulee A, Fenwood-Hughes M, Etchegaray JM, Qureshi N, Chandler R, and Selker HP. Evaluation of initial progress to implement Common Metrics across the NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science, page 1 of 12. doi: 10.1017/cts.2020.517


Lisa C. Welch (1,2), Andrada Tomoaia-Cotisel (3), Farzad Noubary (1,2), Hong Chang (1,2), Peter Mendel (3), Anshu Parajulee (1), Marguerite Fenwood-Hughes (1), Jason M. Etchegaray (3), Nabeel Qureshi (3), Redonna Chandler (4) and Harry P. Selker (1,2)
(1) Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA;
(2) Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
(3) RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA
(4) The National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
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Director of Evaluation, Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Marguerite Fenwood Hughes
Fenwood Hughes
Project Manager
Dean of Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)