Chiara Lombardo 2One of the important messages I took from the 2014 HSRN conference was the challenge on the research community to conduct rigorous evaluations in order to identify and promote best practice.

In her Plenary talk ‘Integrating Care, what works’, Jennifer Dixon, from Health Foundation, stressed the importance of evaluating initiatives and on how the context of change still remains unexplored. The context in which these initiatives are implemented can influence a success and studying the local context could help new initiatives spread. Jennifer illustrated the consequence of not taking into consideration the context of change, as for example a reduction in effectiveness from applying the same fixed-intervention in different situations. Effectiveness may be maintained if we can learn in what contexts the intervention can be amended to work.

The importance of conducting both formative and exploratory evaluations (also known as evaluability assessments) was also stressed. In particular, the latter needs to be used more, in order to provide rapid feedback on how the intervention is working; it helps to develop realistic objectives for the project/programme; it examines the feasibility of implementation and adaptability; and it informs the design of a full evaluation to gain useful information.

A final important message was sent to the CLAHRCS, in terms of taking the lead in carrying out those evaluations.

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