Traditional approaches to evidencing impact and value are important but are unlikely to demonstrate the full value of improvement work.  Improvement activity in health and care often takes place in complex systems.  Challenges around contribution and attribution are ever present, leading us to question how we can be sure that the changes we see are due to our intervention.

Leaders, commissioners and other key sponsors are often keenly focused on monetised value and justifying spend in a climate of ever increasing demands on budgets.  If we can’t capture the value of our activities in these terms, there is a real risk that they will not continue to be funded, despite the fact that we, and those we support, can often ‘feel’ the value that our improvement activity can add.    This is complicated further for teams whose role it is to support or enable others to achieve their improvement goals.  How do we capture the real value of connecting people and developing a shared vision, overcoming barriers to change, building capability or helping to turn transformational ideas into actions?  How do we respond effectively when we are required to report on impact well before the full impact of our work can be realised? And how do we demonstrate our value meaningfully to the plethora of stakeholders, partners and organisations we work with?

In response to these challenges, we are considering current and emerging approaches to capturing value and how we can best demonstrate the impact of intermediary or enabling teams, by conducting an evidence scan of key papers and approaches from a number of fields in a number of countries.  This evidence has been used to inform a draft set of principles which will underpin a practical approach based around an outcomes framework, with a toolkit of methods and tools (traditional and emerging) that can be helpful in evidencing value and impact.   In testing this approach we are working with teams across the Sustainable Improvement team within NHS England.

We need your help!

We are establishing a community of interest, with invited experts from a range of fields, with a view to challenging and refining the approach as it emerges. We hope that this community of interest will help us to think creatively about the actions people can take to make informed valuations of their improvement work.

We want to hear your comments and contributions so that we can identify key ideas and practices on how to capture value and impact and bring a shared sense of meaning and interpretation to this area of work.

We want to bring together researchers, evaluators and improvement practitioners who are currently working in a similar context, to explore, test and develop new ways of understanding value and impact.

We want to develop a community of people who want to measure some of the biggest impacts of their work yet keep in touch with the smaller areas that have potential for spread. The community will be asked to share their creative ideas and examples of evaluation resources, approaches to data capturing and to engaging people across multiple sectors, roles and responsibilities.

We are keen to hear your ideas on what works in terms of traditional cost/benefit models, as well as models that challenge dominant ideas and approaches to evaluation. This work builds on the NHS Change Day –Revaluation which completed earlier this year. The six box model used to capture value has supported new ways of thinking about impact and evaluations. (See The Edge NHS).

If you are interested in contributing to this emerging area of work and collectively learning about impact and value and what this means in the improvement world, please contact us for more information at  england.si-impact@nhs.net or post your comments or questions here, on The Edge.