Overview :: Planning :: Implementation :: Evaluation

Evaluation of clinical service delivery can be thought of as taking place on several levels. In treatment settings the term "evaluation" is sometimes connected with assessment protocols used with an individual or family. This level of evaluation is important in assessing individual needs or measuring the effectiveness of service delivery for the individual. There are a number of clinical instruments with good reliability and validity that can be used to assess individuals. Some of these instruments can be administered over time to help gauge improvement and collectively assess the effectiveness of the intervention or service being delivered.

Evaluation of programs in clinical service settings is similar to evaluation in other service areas. Practitioners, service recipients and funding groups want to know that services are making a positive difference for individuals and communities. They may also want to know about the relative costs and benefits of the services offered. Good evaluation is a process that is systematic and objective. Evaluation can be made easier by good program planning that points to what may be expected to result if the services are delivered effectively. Some organizations refer to ongoing evaluation processes as quality management, quality assurance or performance improvement.