Health Evaluations & Community Health Plans
What is a Program Evaluation?
Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency
Why Conduct an Evaluation?
There are three main reasons an organization may desire to conduct a program evaluation. Evaluation can serve as effectiveness tool, an accountability tool, or as an adaptability tool
Find Out What Works and What doesn’t
First, evaluation encourages us to examine the operations of a program, including which activities take place, who conducts the activities, and who is reached as a result. In addition, evaluation will show how faithfully the program adheres to implementation protocols. Through program evaluation, we can determine whether activities are implemented as planned and identify program strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Program evaluation is a tool with which to demonstrate accountability to an array of stakeholders who may include funding sources, policymakers, state, and local agencies implementing the program, and community leaders. Depending on the needs of stakeholders, program evaluation findings may demonstrate that the program contributes to reducing morbidity and mortality or relevant risk factors; or that money is being spent appropriately and effectively; or that further funding, increased support, and policy change might lead to even more improved health outcomes. By holding programs accountable in these ways, evaluation helps ensure that the most effective approaches are maintained and that limited resources are spent efficiently.
Adaptability Tool: One Size Does Not Fit all
Public health programs aim to prevent or control disease, injury, disability and death. Often, public health problems involve significant and difficult changes in attitudes and risk/protective behavior of consumers and/or providers. And programs that work well in some settings fail dismally in others because of the fiscal, socioeconomic, demographic, interpersonal, and inter-organizational settings in which they are planted. Therefore, program evaluation helps us to identify what factors affect program’s effectiveness and hence adapt program to various settings.