On Monday (25/2/13) I successfully completed a two week online pilot for a new Health Services Evaluation Course created by the CLAHRC LNR (Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland). After defining the purpose for the evaluation (establishing whether the project was indeed an ‘ evaluation’ and not a clinical audit or a piece of research), the course talked me through how best to define the evaluation question, aims and objectives;the identification of the relevant stakeholders and evaluation team members, defining their input into the project; and how to select the most suitable methods of carrying out the evaluation, agreeing on timescales, resources and strategies for dissemination. The most important stage, in my opinion, was the succesful identification of all the stakeholders and recognising their appropriate levels of involvement within the evaluation. Sometimes the views of certain stakeholders are maginalised in favour of stakeholders who are more influencial to the project. This can be problematic when those individuals are the direct recievers of the particular healthcare service being evaluated, yet their voices are not heard the loudest.
Using the online interface was a good way to interact and discuss ideas with others working on a wide range of health evaluations in primary and secondary care, despite the fact that they were based in various locations. Discussion boards and the Wiki format were actively utiltised and comments posted were always on topic and constructive. I can see the online course format working well in practice when it is rolled out to health professionals in the area.
Many thanks to Tammy Holmes and Rachel Lovesy for providing me with the opportunity to take part.