Supporting evaluation and learning

We support partners to evaluate impact and apply learning to improve the delivery of health and care services. We share knowledge and provide rapid, actionable insights to inform improvements and spread innovative practice.

We have specialist expertise in the evaluation of healthcare programmes and new innovations.  During 2020/21, our team has been involved in evaluating national projects across the South West and in partnership with other AHSNs nationally – as per the below:

  • Perinatal Excellence to Reduce Injury in Premature Birth (PERIPrem) – Working in collaboration with the West of England AHSN, we were commissioned to evaluate PERIPrem. The evaluation aims to understand the effectiveness of using Quality Improvement (QI) methodology to support maternity and neonatal units in implementing a standardised bundle of care to mothers who deliver their babies at less than 34 weeks' gestation. The evaluation will assess if the PERIPrem approach works and how it works.
  • Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Awards – We partnered with Kent, Surrey Sussex and Oxford AHSNs to provide an evaluation for winners of the award, led by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC). The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Award, run by the AAC in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will make £140 million available over three years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of the most promising AI technologies which meet the strategic aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
  • NHSX Regional Scaling Up Programme – In October 2020, NHSX released £1.5million of funds across the seven South West region STPs (Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucester, BNSSG and BSW) in order to support the scaling up of remote monitoring. As part of this programme of work we provided support around the identification of benefits and evaluation approaches. Learning sessions helped identify key learning points that have been taken forward into ongoing South West digital programmes, including support around sharing learning between sites and benefit quantification.
  • The COVID Innovation Fund – In addition to their financial grant, we supported seven innovators to improve their capability around evaluation. This included developing logic models, evaluation frameworks, data analysis and report writing.
  • Somerset Red Quadrant – We have delivered teaching sessions and project support on data and evaluation to Somerset County Council’s organisational development academy. Our support increased the capability of commissioning teams to embed evaluation and use to data as part of the Improving Lives Transformation Programme.
  • iQoro evaluation support - Dysphagia, an impairment to the swallowing process,
    is a significant issue, linked to higher rates of depression as well as eating difficulties, plus prolonging hospital visits with consequent additional cost to the NHS. iQoro training stimulates sensory receptors around the mouth, improving tone in the muscles involved in swallowing. NICE approved further research into iQoro, which was undertaken with a group of patients, measuring real-world results, after continued training with the IQoro device. Through our commission by the Office for Life Science, we provided capacity building and evaluation support for the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital to implement and evaluate the project. Alongside this we have been supporting the company behind iQoro engage the wider AHSN network in considering how to scale their innovation nationally.

Our evaluation team has evaluated our internal events, training and network collaboratives to ensure that our content and structure are offering the most benefit to our stakeholders and the health and care system more widely.

Through our Innovation Exchange, our team have also worked with innovators seeking to spread:

  • KiActiv® Health – We were commissioned by West of England AHSN to evaluate the impact of KiActiv® Health a personalised and guided online intervention that empowers participants to optimise physical activity within their everyday lives. The evaluation has enabled the innovator and commissioners to understand the impact of KiActiv® for patients with COPD and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the it’s potential for wider spread and adoption.
  • Healthwave – In December 2020, we supported Healthwave Limited to secure £155k from Innovate UK to assess inequality of access to NHS healthcare during the COVID-19 crisis. The consortium, led by Healthwave Limited in partnership with South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN) and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is exploring how people access digital healthcare services during the pandemic and will recommend improvements.
  • Health & Care Videos in the Torbay surgical pathway – We have supported the commissioning of an economic evaluation and modelling for the use of videos provided by Health and Care Videos (HCV) in the cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) and pacemaker pathways in Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. The evaluation and modelling will aim to support the trust to make informed decisions about where videos may best support the patient journey in other surgical pathways.

Rapid Cycle Learning... learning fast from the pandemic

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we developed rapid cycle learning to measure and evaluate in specific situations, and draw out actions to improve and sustain activity.

During 2020/2021, we led 5 COVID-19 rapid cycle learning projects across the region. This insight gathered to date indicates that there are eight conditions that have most frequently facilitated rapid change during lockdown. Individually and combined, these provide useful insight for ongoing efforts to make our health and care system more resilient.

Read our blog: ‘the eight conditions for rapid change in health and care’ and the ‘Safer care during COVID-19: a rapid-learning report on patient safety in a pandemic’ report.

Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) and AHSN partnership

This is a joint initiative with West of England AHSN, South West Peninsula Applied Research Collaborative (PenARC) and Applied Research Collaborative West (ARC West) to capture innovations in health and care services initiated or accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its working themes are:

  • Remote consultations
  • Remote monitoring
  • New approaches to delivering services
  • NHS and social care workforce issues

Members have been asked by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to undertake the two phases of activity:

Phase 1: Collect information relating to specific areas of change relating to its themes, confirm regional priorities, with actions, and explore opportunities for national collaboration around those themes. This was completed at the end of March 2021.

Phase 2: This phase is now underway and will take the very best evidence around remote consultations, and develop a toolkit so that we can support remote consultation across our region. In particular, this will support system recovery in elective care.

Our priorities for 2021/22

Continue to support local systems to evaluate the impact of improvements and generate learning:

  • Supporting national and regional programme evaluation Evaluating innovations seeking to spread
  • Rapid cycle learning
  • Work with the South West Peninsula Applied Research Collaboration on a one-year project to evaluate how to achieve beneficial outcomes from virtual consultations
  • Evaluate innovations selected for the Workforce Domiciliary Care Challenge run jointly with West of England AHSN.

Evaluation Expertise and Training

Here in the Evaluation and Learning team we are lucky to have a wide range of expertise spanning many years in:

  • Theory of Change/Logic Modelling
  • Evidence informed practice and service design
  • Outcome and Impact evaluation and measurement
  • Quantitative surveys, data analysis and data visualisation
  • Qualitative evaluation including case study approaches, depth interviews, focus groups.
  • Rapid Cycle Learning

The Evaluation and Learning team are actively engaged on a regular basis delivering workshops and presentations to groups so that we might share our knowledge and experience with others looking to learn more about evaluation approaches. We are able to deliver bespoke workshops and presentations on a wide range of topics.

If you have an evaluation project in mind that you are looking to progress or you are interested in arranging bespoke training for your organisation, please contact Lynnette Chapman.