Nothing can truly replace an in-person Personal Outcome Measures® interview. There may be times though – especially in the midst of the international coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – where a virtual interview might be the only viable option.

This guide, which is available as a free electronic download, provides tips and information for completing Personal Outcome Measures® interviews when using online platforms. This information will increase your effectiveness in the virtual person-centered discovery process.

Plan For Success

  • Interview people who are comfortable with technology and able to ask for help if needed, or who are interested and can be supported to explore technology prior to an interview
  • Ensure the person you are meeting with has good support to set- up and navigate the technology in a location that is comfortable, with good access, and allows the person to communicate freely
  • Work with the person and their support team to identify which technology platform they will be most comfortable using – Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, etc. – and what type of device works best – phone, laptop, tablet, etc.
  • Make sure the environment is set up in a way that will work best for a virtual interview (i.e. not using shared staff computer in common area)
  • Plan for and agree on a back-up plan so if something happens to the internet, you might have a phone connection or “Hot Spot” available
  • Test out all the technology beforehand, and call the person a few days prior to the interview to review plans and confirm that the technology is working
  • Just as with in-person interviews, the preference is to be able to speak to the person alone
  • Ensure the person being interviewed has privacy
  • If the person being interviewed is at home, have the person take you for a virtual tour of their living space if possible
  • Email, mail, or drop-off the Personal Outcome Measures® Overview Guide ahead of the interview
  • Remember the interview does not have to happen all at one time – take breaks as needed and schedule more than one meeting if necessary
  • Value flexibility
  • Take extra steps to make sure the person being interviewed is comfortable: seating, drinks, snacks, etc.

Additional Considerations

  • Conducting POM interviews virtually is expected to reduce the pool of people supported who can be included
  • Conducting a virtual POM interview with a person whose communication does not include words and/or a person with significant support needs may be possible depending on the person and the situation. Additional supports will need to be considered, using the same strategies as with in-person interviews. This may involve including someone who knows the person well and with whom the person is comfortable, utilizing gestures, pictures, alternate communication strategies, etc.
  • Data regarding outcomes and supports during this time of COVID-19 will, no doubt, be impacted by all the restrictions in people’s lives
  • You likely will not have as “rich” an interview due to the lack of typical environmental cues otherwise available

About the Personal Outcome Measures®

The Personal Outcome Measures® (POM) is a person-centered discovery process, exploring the presence, importance, and achievement of outcomes, along with the supports that help people achieve those outcomes. Through the Personal Outcome Measures®, people receiving services share what really matters to them, including their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. At an individual level, the Personal Outcome Measures® can be used to inform a truly person-centered plan, and track progress in implementing that plan.

Organizations can then use that information to better focus their services and improve the quality of people’s lives. At an aggregate level, organizations can collect Personal Outcome Measures® data to analyze the impact of their supports, identify effective services, and highlight areas where additional work is needed.