There are different reasons for evaluating health-oriented programs. Program evaluations may be mandated for funding or accreditation or voluntary for revision, improvement or future planning of subsequent programs. There are also different types of health-oriented program evaluation and uses for findings obtained from them.
Process evaluation begins when the program starts. The focus of this kind of evaluation is primarily on the degree to which the program has been implemented as planned. Knowledge gained from process evaluation can be used to revise or improve the program with regard efficiency and sustainability of execution.
Effect evaluation is also referred to as outcome evaluation. This type of evaluation is used to determine the effect of a program on community members who are participating in it. Effect evaluation answers the question of whether or not the program made a difference and uses the most rigorous designs, methods and statistics available. Findings from an effect evaluation are not only used to revise or improve the program, but also referenced in the planning phase of subsequent new programs.
Cost evaluation concentrates on the efficiency and costs associated with a health-oriented program. Two common methods are cost effectiveness evaluation and cost-benefit evaluation. Cost effectiveness evaluation compares the costs of a program to the achieved targeted outcomes. This approach is used mostly when choosing among two or more implementation strategies. Cost-benefit evaluation also compares program costs to targeted outcomes but with a monetary value assigned to each outcome or benefit. Information obtained from cost evaluation is used for subsequent new program planning or decision-making with regard to how to proceed with an existing program.
No matter what type of evaluation is indicated, it’s important for it to occur as a collaborative process between stakeholders, program staff and participants. External qualitative and health outcomes researchers can function as mediators and change agents with less bias. Lupine Creative Consulting, Inc. can provide health program evaluation services in a manner that facilitates the teaching and learning process as join you to learn as you teach and teach what we learn adding the components of empowerment and enrichment to the foundation of your program.