Making the most of evaluation: a mixed methods study in the English NHS

Salisbury, Chris and Stewart, Kate and Purdy, Sarah and Thorp, Helen and Cameron, Ailsa and Lart, Rachel and Peckham, Stephen and Calnan, Michael .W. (2011) Making the most of evaluation: a mixed methods study in the English NHS. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 16 (4). pp. 218-225. ISSN 1355-8196. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1258/jhsrp.2011.010137) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1258/jhsrp.2011.010137

Abstract

Objectives To increase understanding about how evaluations of health policy initiatives are commissioned, conducted and used. Methods A mapping exercise was conducted to identify evaluation of initiatives promoted by the White Paper ‘Our health, our care, our say’ in the English NHS. All evaluations were subjected to critical appraisal and 21 were purposively selected as case studies, involving documentary analysis and 60 interviews with those commissioning, conducting and affected by the evaluation. Results Variation in the types of evaluation being undertaken did not reflect the importance of the initiatives being evaluated. Most evaluations collected evidence about uptake, processes of care and users' perceptions. While some provided useful information about how initiatives could be improved, few provided robust evidence about the benefits or costs of the initiatives. Those who commissioned evaluations had similar concerns to those who conducted them. There was a commitment to the concept of evaluation but little clarity about how findings would be used. Evaluation was often commissioned too late to influence decisions about implementation. Compromises over research design and difficulties collecting data limited the potential to provide robust evidence about benefits. There were tensions between the desire of evaluators for methodological rigour and the needs of service providers for swift, contextually relevant findings. There were concerns about the transparency of methods and results. Conclusions Considerable public resources are committed to evaluation, but this investment is less productive than it could be. This article specifies several ways in which the use of evaluation of initiatives in health and social care could be improved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Tony Rees
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2013 09:22 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2015 11:01 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/33276 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Peckham, Stephen: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7002-2614
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