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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 113

Health Strategy Evaluation: An Overview


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication1-Jun-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2394-7438.157934

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Health Strategy Evaluation: An Overview. MAMC J Med Sci 2015;1:113

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Health Strategy Evaluation: An Overview. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Dec 8];1:113. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2015/1/2/113/157934

Dear Sir,

Worldwide, the program managers have implemented various welfare strategies based on the prevalent public health problems to improve the health indicators of the masses. [1] However, mere formulation and implementation of health strategies will not serve the purpose unless it achieves the intended aim and thus bring about an improvement in the health status of the recipients. [2] For this to happen, a thorough evaluation of health strategies has been recommended so that the proposed targets can be achieved within the stipulated time interval. [2]

In general, evaluation is a systematic process to assess the extent to which outcomes have been achieved following the initiation of a specific policy when compared with the previously stated objectives. [3] However, evaluation has to be a continuous process throughout the course of an initiative (concurrent evaluation), rather than an activity performed at the end of the initiative (terminal evaluation). [4] Acknowledging the benefits of a thorough evaluation in different facets of a programme (viz. current performance, improvement in outcome indices, release of monetary aid for the subsequent year, etc.) evaluation has been considered as an indispensable element in the health arena. [5]

The process of evaluation consists of multiple steps starting from ascertaining what has to be evaluated (structure/process/outcome); defining the standards against which obtained results will be compared; devising a strategy for conducting thorough evaluation; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; providing feedback to all the involved stakeholders; followed by implementing corrective measures to strengthen or modify the services involved; and finally re-evaluation to assess the results of the remedial steps. [2],[6],[7]

One of the prerequisites to undertake a comprehensive evaluation throughout the nation essentially necessitates that standardized guidelines should be developed to enable maximum coordination between different levels. [8] In addition, the process of evaluation should assess six different aspects of a health service, including its relevance, adequacy, process, efficacy (can the health strategy deliver desired results in ideal circumstances), effectiveness (does it provide acceptable results in real life), and efficiency (whether it is the most economical way in terms of time or money). [2],[9],[10] Finally, the process of evaluation should not only limit itself to health care providers/programme managers, but even simultaneously assess the needs of patients and communities. [11]

In conclusion, in the field of public health, in order to improve the health status and quality of life of people and to achieve the anticipated objectives, the need of the hour is to not only formulate comprehensive policies, but also support it with a continuous and thorough process of evaluation.

 
  References Top

1.
Aikins J, Lloyd L, Joyner I. A scan of program evaluation at the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Rep 2007;122:707-11.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Park K, editor. Health planning and management. In: Text Book of Preventive and Social Medicine. 20 th ed. Jabalpur: Banarsidas Bhanot Publishers; 2009. p. 784-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Houston JM, Martin M, Williams JE, Hill RL. The Annual African American Conference on Diabetes: Evolving program evaluation with evolving program implementation. Prev Chronic Dis 2006;3:A18.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Simpson D, Lypson M. The year is over, now what? The Annual Program Evaluation. J Grad Med Educ 2011;3:435-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Jack L Jr, Mukhtar Q, Martin M, Rivera M, Lavinghouze SR, Jernigan J, et al. Program evaluation and chronic diseases: Methods, approaches, and implications for public health. Prev Chronic Dis 2006;3:A02.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Shadish WR. The common threads in program evaluation. Prev Chronic Dis 2006;3:A03.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Milstein B, Chapel T, Wetterhall SF, Cotton DA. Building capacity for program evaluation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Dir Eval 2002;93:27-46.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Milstein RL, Wetterhall SF. Framework for program evaluation in public health. MMWR Recomm Rep 1999;48:1-40.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Heckman JJ. Building bridges between structural and program evaluation approaches to evaluating policy. J Econ Lit 2010;48:356-98.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Desai J, Geiss L, Mukhtar Q, Harwell T, Benjamin S, Bell R, et al. Public health surveillance of diabetes in the United States. J Public Health Manag Pract 2003;1:S44-51.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Roback K, Dalal K, Carlsson P. Evaluation of health research: Measuring costs and socioeconomic effects. Int J Prev Med 2011;2:203-15.  Back to cited text no. 11
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