Routine data use in evaluation: practical guidance
On Thursday, September 24, at 11am EDT, Data for Impact hosted a one-hour webinar sharing guidance for using routine data in evaluations. The webinar was led by Eva Silvestre, PhD, Tulane University; and Palladium’s Zola Allen, PhD, MPH, and Lyubov Teplitskay, MS.
There has been significant investment in improving routine health information systems (RHIS), which include data collected at regular intervals at public, private, and community-level health facilities and institutions. Historically, routine data have been passed over by evaluators in favor of other data sources, such as stand-alone surveys tailored to meet evaluation objectives. But this kind of primary data collection can be expensive and time intensive. Further, there is no guarantee the data will be captured as planned. Given these realities, there now are many reasons to consider routine data use in evaluations. Among the advantages of using routine data are they are available, they are cost effective, and they encompass the complex nature of health interventions currently being implemented.
This webinar presented a summary of best practices on the use of routine data for evaluation. The approaches described were gathered from a literature review and the development of 13 technical briefs from such evaluations. Two examples from Kenya and Ukraine highlighted the challenges and opportunities encountered while using routine data in evaluations.
Eva Silvestre, PhD, serves as Data for Impact team lead at Tulane University. She worked on documenting health information system strengthening under MEASURE Evaluation and was based in a regional health bureau in Ethiopia where she worked on improving data quality and use of routine data.
Zola Allen, PhD, Palladium, completed her MPH and PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has expertise in design and implementation of program evaluation and operations research.
Lyubov Teplitskaya, MS, Palladium, has expertise in designing and conducting studies on health systems strengthening, health economics, and health financing. She has provided technical assistance to governments in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, East Africa, and Ukraine.