In September 2016 WestWood Spice presented a session at the Australasian Evaluation Society International Conference in Perth.
Harnessing Evaluation to Drive Innovation in the Health System, Insights from Canada and Australia
Alison Plant, Susan Warth and Penny Cooper
Australia and Canada are frequently compared when it comes to health systems, with broad recognition that we have much to learn from each other because of our similarities. At the state and provincial level in New South Wales and British Columbia, these similarities are profound. Governments are wrestling with a changing demographic and its consequences for program needs, delivery and costs, the challenges of delivering consistent high quality services to large population centres as well as in vast remote areas, and similar vulnerable and underserved populations. The current landscape in both countries is all about innovation to address these challenges.
In this interactive workshop session, we explored how evaluation can be used successfully to drive innovation in the health system. We first presented the perspectives of two matched panels of veteran health service and health system evaluators and evaluation users, one each in BC and NSW. The panel views cover what has worked well as well as the lessons which have been learned from evaluations that were less successful in driving innovation. We then lead a guided conversation to reflect on and consolidate the key learnings from both panels and their implications for evaluation practice, use and commissioning.
In this session, external evaluators learnt how to engage internal evaluators and planning teams in participatory and consultative approaches to drive change even as evaluation is unfolding. Internal evaluators and evaluation users gained insights about how to embed evaluation in planning processes, how the evaluation process can be used strategically to advance change, and what to consider in commissioning an evaluation in situations where change is slow and every spur is helpful.