He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools
Being sharp and focused in health-care service delivery is essential. As Confucius says, sharpening one’s tools is an important part of ‘best practice’ .
AOD agencies need cutting-edge practices and tools that connect evidence-based practice with practice-based knowledge. Organisations that want best practice need to know where they sit within a benchmarking framework, and how to know how sharp their tools in fact are.
The general role of a health services evaluation is to improve the quality of the services and systems by establishing their impact, effectiveness or reach. Evaluations can be formative (where the evaluation has an impact on program or service design) or summative (providing a ‘final answer’ on a program or service’s effectiveness or impact). Evaluation, if done well, can allow insights from successful programs to be embedded within, or translated across systems.
The health services evaluation approach used by 360Edge is focused on the process as well as the outcome. The end product is a smooth implementation of the required outcomes.
How we work
Evaluation requires an understanding of the sciences of measurement and statistics and requires real-word skills in engaging diverse stakeholders to work towards a common purpose.
360Edge are experienced in combining a range of evaluation methodologies to deliver powerful insights.
Regardless of methodologies used, all evaluations use structured thinking processes to identify the key questions to be answered by the evaluation, map the potential relationship between factors that lead to the desired outcome, as well as underlying assumptions.
Evaluations can combine hard (quantitative) data with more qualitative inputs, meaning important context factors and multiple perspectives can be considered. Key stakeholders, both internal and external to the service, are consulted via qualitative data collection methodology.
The range of methods and flexibility in approaches means that as long as an evaluation is robust, systematic and data-driven it has the ability to deliver powerful insights.
The earlier the better!
Building evaluation in early helps ensure that the policies and procedures that support programs have sufficient clarity.
A strong evaluation foundation also allows programs to monitor performance and continually improve.
This doesn’t mean that evaluations can’t be helpful once a program or service is up and running, but it can be more challenging, especially as points of ready comparison (like pre intervention baseline data) may not be available.
Tailored for you
Although there are common principles and practices within healthcare service evaluation, the process should always be tailored to the specific philosophies and needs of the organisation.
The context of the evaluation, the questions being answered, the methods selected, the type of service or program under examination, what data is available, as well as a range of human and financial constraints all have a bearing.
Dr Moira Junge is a senior consultant within 360Edge’s service development program. We are Australia’s leading experts in AOD service improvement. Looking to evaluate? Get in touch!