Table 2.

Definitions of context, mechanism, outcome, and CMO configuration

ContextThe term context refers to all elements affecting the program intervention, including any participant characteristic or factor that “can trigger and/or modifies the behavior of the mechanism, such as cultural norms, geographic or historic location effects, funding sources, pre-existing social networks, opportunities or constraints of the community in which a program is implemented”18
MechanismMechanisms are underlying entities, processes, or structures” that generate or lead to intended outcomes or unintended outcomes from the program intervention by operating in particular contexts19
OutcomeThe outcomes are the intended and unintended effects generated by the program, resulting from the activation of 1 or more different mechanisms in different contexts.20 Outcomes can be either positive or negative and can be related to patients, providers, or organizations
CMO configurationCMO configuration is a statement, diagram, or drawing that spells out the relationship between particular contextual elements affecting particular mechanisms and producing particular outcomes20
  • CMO—context-mechanism-outcome.