Key Takeaways

  • Evidence-based program attendees may be identified as participants or completers.

  • Learn more about the requirements for collecting, entering, and managing this data in the National Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) Database.

  • These requirements are specific to organizations implementing programs with Administration for Community Living (ACL) funding. Always check with your specific funding source for requirements.

The National Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) Database is built on the Salesforce platform, and tracks data from host organizations, implementation sites, and participants for over 20 evidence-based programs. Most are small group (10-15 individuals), workshop-based programs offered in locations such as senior centers, area agencies on aging, churches, libraries, hospitals, other community-based settings, and even online. Some programs are one-on-one (e.g., HomeMeds, PEARLS) or self-directed (e.g. Tool Kit for Active Living with Chronic Conditions). For ACL grantees, there are specific requirements for tracking "participants" and "completers" in each of these programs.


  • Participant: An individual who attends at least one session of an evidence-based program. Labeled "participants enrolled" in the database.
  • Completer: A participant in a group program who completes the recommended intervention dose or at least 2/3 of the total possible sessions. For example: Participant attends 4 or more sessions out of 6 in a six-week program, excluding any Session Zero classes. This definition is specific to the ACL CDSME grant program. 
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Program (CDSME): For the purpose of the ACL CDSME grant, an umbrella term that refers to community-based education programs specifically designed to enhance patient self-management of chronic illnesses, as well as focus on building multiple health behaviors and generalizable skills such as goal setting, decision making, problem-solving, and self-monitoring. CDSME programs are proven to maintain or improve health outcomes of older adults with chronic conditions.
  • Self-Management Support Program: The ACL CDSME funding announcements allow applicants to offer a "self-management support program," defined as a community-based, behavioral change intervention that is proven to increase one or more skills or behaviors relevant to chronic disease self-management such as physical activity and medication management.
  • Session Zero: Session Zero is an optional information session offered prior to the first official program class. Generally, session zero includes an overview of the program and expectations for participation. Additionally, administrative paperwork is often collected at this time.  A session zero does not count toward participant or completer numbers. 

Salesforce Forms

There are two form types in the National CDSME Database:

  1. Standard Form: For small group programs that have a total of 6 individual sessions.
  2. Alternate 1 Form: For all other programs that have a variety of delivery formats (group, individual, self-directed), different number of sessions, and different ways of measuring program completion.

The "Standard" (6 session) and “Alternate 1” forms are identical, except for the way that attendance and completion are tracked. The “Alternate 1” form requires staff to indicate the total number of “Encounters” based on the participant paperwork and in the online record. An encounter is equivalent to a session. Some programs do not have a set number of sessions so the number of "Encounters" may vary. At least one "encounter" needs to be recorded to count as a participant in data reports.

Furthermore, criteria for program completion may vary or be dependent on participant milestones. When using the "Alternate 1" form, data entry users manually indicate when a participant has completed a program with a check-box.

Grant Requirements & Data Entry

Chronic Disease Self-Management Education Programs: ACL CDSME Grantees are expected to set goals to reach a specific number of participants and completers. Both participants and completers are tracked for the following programs in the National CDSME Database. Completion is based on the definition above.


Total Number of Sessions/

Number of Sessions Required for Completion

Database Form
Better Choices, Better Health Online 6/4 Standard
Cancer: Thriving and Surviving* 6/4 Standard
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program*    6/4 Standard
Chronic Pain Self-Management Program* 6/4 Standard
Diabetes Self-Management Program* 6/4 Standard
EnhanceWellness 6/4 Standard
Health Coaches for Hypertension Control 8/5 Alternate 1
Living Well in the Community 10/6 Alternate 1
Positive Self-Management Program* 6/4 Standard
Tomando Control de su Salud* 6/4 Standard
Programa de Manejo Personal de la Diabetes* 6/4 Standard

Toolkit for Active Living with Chronic Conditions

(If offered with phone sessions)

6/4 Standard

Toolkit for Active Living with Diabetes

(If offered with phone sessions)

6/4 Standard

Toolkit for Active Living with Chronic Pain

(If offered with phone sessions)

6/4 Standard
Wellness Recovery Action Plan 8/5 Alternate 1
Workplace Chronic Disease Self-Management Program* 12/8 Alternate 1

* The completer requirement is the same regardless of whether the Self-Management Resource Center program is implemented in-person, by video-conference (e.g. Zoom), or by phone. 

Self-Management Support Program: ACL CDSME Grantees are expected to set goals to reach a specific number of participants only for self-management support programs. Where possible, organizations can elect to track completion rates for support programs for quality assurance purposes. 


Total Number of Sessions/

Number of Sessions Required for Completion

Database Form

Active Living Every Day     12/8 Alternate 1
Arhtritis Foundation Exercise Program    12/8 or ongoing Alternate 1
Healthy IDEAS 1-8 (Dependent on clinical and participant needs) Alternate 1

Varies based on follow-up as needed with pharmacist, provider, or client

(Must record at least one "encounter")

Alternate 1
PEARLS 6-10 (Dependent on participant needs)

Alternate 1

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment


(Must record at least one "encounter")

Alternate 1
EnhanceFitness     Ongoing; 22 sessions in the first 4 months to count as completer  Alternate 1
Walk With Ease (in-person) 18/12 Alternate 1
Walk with Ease/Camine Con Gusto (Self-directed)  


Self-directed walks and workbook lessons

Alternate 1
Fit & Strong! 24/16 Alternate 1
Geri-Fit Strength Training Workout for Older Adult     24/16 or Ongoing Alternate 1