Regular review will help you to understand progress and successes, as well as challenges and unexpected outcomes. Reviews should be carried out during the work, not just at the end. Ideally you should review the evidence at the beginning, the middle and end of your planned programme of work.
- Reviewing evidence at the beginning of the programme will help choose the most impactful activities.
- Reviewing evidence during the middle of the programme will help monitor progress and tell you if you need to make changes to your plan.
- Reviewing evidence at the end of the programme will help you understand your overall impact and if you met your longer-term goals.
How often you review this evidence will depend on the individual programme. Size, scale, milestones, the data collection intervals of your programme all influence when to carry out the review. ‘Regular’ might mean annually, monthly or even daily in really emergent and fast paced contexts.
You should involve everyone who was involved in:
- The development of the articulation of change;
- Analysis of the evidence;
- Anyone who has a useful perspective of the programme, such as patient representative, commissioners.
An evidence review session may be face to face, or virtual via webinars or Skype. The key is to use a method which allows feedback and dialogue on the information shared.
The key questions to ask at your evidence review:
- Is what we thought would happen happening?
- Do we need to make any changes to the programme?
- Do we need to make any changes to the way be capture evidence?
- Are there any gaps in what we know?
Examples of data shared at evidence reviews
Data may be presented in many formats, so the key is to tailor it to your audience and the stage you are at in your programme.
An early evidence review should allow the audience to ask questions and explore the issues, so a dashboard like this one below might be appropriate. Here you can explore where the issues lie and use the data to help you steer your programme activity most effectively. For example, you may wish to look at geographical trends, trends over time (like time of the day) or trends within patient groups.
At this point you may wish to revise the ‘articulation of change’ document in Step 1, you may have more information to help you target resources most effectively.
Once you have started to implement changes within your services, it’s important to track progress on a regular basis.
Run charts and statistical process control charts are effective tools for tracking interim progress. This free tool from NHS Improvement shows ‘signals’ in the data with blue and orange dots, so it is easy to see if change is happening.
At the end of a programme, you may wish to summarise the key achievements with an infographic which is easy to share
- NHS Improvement have created an easy to use, free Statistical Process Control tool. Paste in your data and it will generate a chart, and highlight any ‘signals’ you should investigate.
- A great blog, book and collection of videos and other resources, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic shares her insight into how to tell stories with data. “Storytelling with data” (Book, blog, videos, Nussbaumer Knaflic 2019).