Good ideas need an evidence base to demonstrate innovation and efficacy
The Innovation agency can provide guidance on how to gather the relevant information and evaluate or commision a product or service
Increase the uptake of your innovation
How commisioners can identify and assess evidence
In order to commission something we need to know enough about how it works on a range of levels, including socio-cultural, technical and with regards to outcomes and effectiveness.
The Innovation Agency recommends an approach to evaluation that has been developed by the Health Foundation. However, there are lots of ways to evaluate health and care systems and models.
There are many types of evaluation. Here, we give a brief overview of two of the most commonly used types (summative and formative) and two fairly new ones (rapid cycle and developmental). There are no firm rules about which approach to take and your choice will depend on a number of factors:
- what you and the intervention team hope to learn from the evaluation
- what the different stakeholders’ needs are
- how long you have to carry out the evaluation, and
- what your budget is.
Summative – a summative evaluation provides information on the overall effect on an intervention, in particular at the end of the interventions against stated outputs or goals
Formative – a formative evaluation uses data collected to iteratively design or shape an intervention and to modify it in real time to improve it.
Rapid Cycle – rapid cycle evaluation uses a formative approach, with stated desired goals or outputs and an open approach to how they might be achieved. This allows people to innovate with their interventions to achieve improvements.
Developmental – a developmental evaluation employs iterative reflective cycles in complex and changing environments where assumptions, goals or outputs are revised over time. This enables a fluid understanding of emergent processes and outcomes as they occur.
Quality Improvement in health care provides an approach to improving and measuring change in health and care that ensures better alignment of overall improvement aims and engagement of patients and people working in the system.
An introduction to quality improvement is provided here.
Learn more about evaluation
The NHS R&D Forum Primary Care and Commissioning Working Group in collaboration with Research Managers from other organisations has developed a ‘Research, Evaluation and Evidence Guide for Commissioners’. It is an introductory practical guide to support commissioners with the research, evaluation and evidence agendas, with signposting to further resources.
Find out more about the NHS Research and Development (R&D) Forum.