Many John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts have built their careers on successful measurement of health outcomes and understand how to create a clinically meaningful evaluation. But how do you create measures of success that are meaningful to health care leaders, or policy makers? What are the metrics that can help determine if an innovation is truly successful -- to those who will ultimately determine if the program will fly or be grounded?

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) uses and supports “The Model for Improvement,” which starts with three basic questions:

  1. What are we trying to accomplish?
  2. How will we know that a change is an improvement?
  3. What changes can we make that will result in improvement?


You can find detailed information on The Model for Improvement on IHI's resources page.

IHI also offers a chart that clarifies the difference between measurement for improvement and measurement for research, along with additional tips and resources on effective measurement.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides resources for measuring success that resonate with health care leaders:

The Turning Point Guidebook for Performance Measurement provides background and definitions of performance measurements tools, focusing on metrics that evaluate the effects on patients, compare what happened to what was planned or intended, and measure if progress is being made towards desired goals.

From Silos to Systems:Using Performance Management to Improve the Public’s Health describes the four components of performance management, including standards, measures, reporting of progress and quality improvement.


Additional Resources  

Recommendations for Evaluation of Healthcare Improvement Initiatives, an article from Gareth Perry of IHI, available via PubMed.

Communicating and Reporting on an Evaluation: Guidelines and Tools is a report sponsored by The Catholic Relief Services and the American Red Cross. 

Engagement of Stakeholders in Monitoring and Evaluation from UNDP Handbook on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating for Development Results. This helpful document comes from the United Nations Development Program.

Nine Strategies for Successful Program Evaluation from eCivis, a grant managment software company. 

Using Evaluation in Programme Design – A Funder’s Perspective by Better Evaluation, an international collaborative focused on improving evaluation practice and theory .

Aligning Forces for Quality. This eight year effort funded by RWJ Foundation encouraged patients, physicians and payers work together to improve community health. They note three core elements as critical to success: multi-stakeholder alliances, publicly reported data and meaningful consumer involvement.