Aims: Healthcare providers are confronted with the claim that the distribution of health and healthcare provision is inherently unfair. There is also a growing awareness that the tools and methodologies applied in tackling health inequalities require further development. Evaluations as well as interventions usually focus on population-based indicators, but do not always provide guidance for frontline service evaluation and delivery. That is why the evaluation framework presented here focuses on facilitating local service development, service provider and user involvement, and the adequate representation of different population groups.
Methods: A participative evaluation framework was constructed by drawing on six common success characteristics extrapolated from the published literature and policies on health inequalities. This framework was then applied to an intervention addressing women's psychosocial health needs in order to demonstrate its utility in practice.
Results: The framework provides healthcare professionals with an evidence-based tool for evaluating projects or programmes targeting health inequalities in ways that are responsive to local contexts and stakeholders.
Conclusion: This participative evaluation framework supports the identification of meaningful psychosocial and contextual indicators for assessing the diverse health and social needs of service users. It uses multi-dimensional indicators to assess health and social care needs, to inform local service development, and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge between researchers, service providers, and service users. The inherent responsiveness enables rigorous yet flexible action on local health inequalities.
- Health inequalities
- Healthcare boundaries
- Evidence base
- Partnership working
- User involvement