31 May 2016

Major Funders Collaborate to Produce First In-Depth Guide on Evaluating Healthcare System Innovations

An e-book published today is the first to comprehensively address the challenges faced by healthcare providers in evaluating system-level innovations in healthcare services in an evolving landscape.

If innovations can be better evaluated then better, evidence-based decisions can be made by healthcare providers to improve the quality of health services in the UK.

Entitled ‘Challenges, solutions and future directions in the evaluation of service innovations in health care and public health’, the book is the result of a partnership between the MRC, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Health Foundation, together with Universities UK and Academy Health.

The e-book, edited by Professor Rosalind Raine at University College London and Professor Raymond Fitzpatrick at the University of Oxford, brings together a global range of expert opinion following a two-day symposium in London last year. The event saw over ninety world-leading applied health researchers and methodologists debate how to address increasing complexity, diversity and pace of change within health systems. The e-book captures and advances those discussions in a series of essays which set out a repertoire of methodologies for evaluation.

Healthcare and public health services are under pressure from rising costs, an ageing population and prevalence of chronic disease. Innovations in service delivery, needed to respond to these pressures, require robust and timely evaluation before they can be commissioned and adopted more widely.

In 2014, the NHS published its five-year forward view, highlighting the urgency of service reform. It has actively encouraged local and regional health services in the UK to experiment and bring about change and improvement in healthcare – with evaluative research recommended as part of this process.

Until now however, there has been no clear consensus of how to evaluate innovation in this complex and continually changing landscape. This new e-book offers ‘state of the science’ methodologies for such evaluation.

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the MRC, said: “We are in a time of significant transformation and it is crucial we take this opportunity to conduct appropriately-designed evaluative research and ensure that healthcare is delivered in the most evidence-based and effective manner possible.

“This book will enable researchers, healthcare providers and policy makers to discover the most up-to-date methodologies for evaluation research, to prioritise these methods and implement them in the most appropriate manner to transform the provision of healthcare and public health.”

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone, the NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research Programme Director and Chair of the HS&DR Commissioning Board, added: “This exciting collaboration has brought a unique e-book providing an extensive overview of the challenges, and future possibilities in the delivery of healthcare.

“The evaluation methods included in this publication have the potential to lead to change and improvement of crucial healthcare services, which lies at the heart of the HS&DR Programme's ambition.”

Helen Crisp, Assistant Director of Research at The Health Foundation, added: “We are delighted to support the development of this publication, bringing together such a wealth of experience and expertise.

“We hope it will critically shift thinking on evaluation, helping us to better understand what works for health services to deliver better outcomes”.