Evaluation has a vital role to play in enabling health service planners and managers to attain the highest standards of effectiveness, efficiency, equity, quality and value for money in the services that they provide, and to demonstrate that attainment for accountability purposes. Evaluation has the potential to provide the evidence required for effective decision making at all levels of the health system and across all areas of health care provision.
The review in Evaluation in the Irish Health Sector of the current status of evaluation in the Irish health system suggests that a framework is needed to provide better coherence to current approaches. The 2001 Health Strategy deals with several aspects of evaluation that could be brought together coherently in a system-wide and system-deep framework. Various challenges are identified to buiklding evaluation demand and capacity within the Irish health system. The information challenges identified are:
- To build an adequate information infrastructure.
- To develop a stronger information management culture.
- To promote better use of evaluation findings in decision making.
- To develop evaluation expertise and skills.