Increasingly purpose-driven organisations are looking at impact measurement and management as a must do, not just a nice to have. There’s a driving imperative for us to demonstrate the social impact we are having, and the reasons are numerous.
Impact measurement enables organisations to account for their social performance, value their contribution to society and generate greater credibility with stakeholders – our beneficiaries and funders. Importantly, impact measurement can help create systemic, sustainable change.
Now more than ever, corporate, government and philanthropic investors want an impactful return on their investment, but if we’re not measuring it then our key stakeholders aren’t going to know the good we’re doing, and in turn provide the continued support we need. We can no longer say we are doing good, without backing it up and being accountable.
Better for beneficiaries
Measuring our impact can help us see the results of our work, so we can understand how successful, or not, our services and support are for our beneficiaries. It allows us to become more targeted and it highlights areas where improvements could create even greater social impact.
And nowhere, is this more important than in the arena of healthcare information. The last couple of years has brought into sharp focus the importance of accurate, evidence based and inclusive material and the difference it can make in terms of supporting positive health outcomes.
But unless we have a measurement framework in place, how will we know whether our information is helping people to better understand their condition, to better self-manage, to adhere to their treatment regime. How will we know how far we are on the road to reaching ‘everyone’, and whether our information is inclusive and accessible to all and helping to address health inequalities.
What are the concerns with impact measurement?
Impact measurement can be a costly and time-consuming exercise. Some may argue that it can distract and take resources away from other projects that would have a better return. And to be honest, if done poorly, organisations can find themselves drowning in data, much of it irrelevant, that they don’t have the time to adequately analyse.
Where to start with measuring impact?
Understanding the terminology is key. When we talk about evaluating impact, we are trying to measure whether the work we have done has delivered the results we hoped to achieve. The aim is to take our insight beyond understanding the outputs and outcomes to see the real difference our work has made to the individual and to the wider society.
|Outputs||How many leaflets you sent out, how many sessions you ran, or how many videos you published.|
|Outcomes||What did people do as a result? Did the leaflet provide the information they needed or direct them to the right service?|
|Impact||Did people feel that they had the information needed? Did they feel able to make informed decisions?|
Impact measurement can be so complex that organisations become paralysed into doing nothing, which is why PIF has created a guide to evaluating your health information.
This guide includes individual health information resources, the use of health information resources through information and support services, or their use within a patient pathway. The principles are the same for all channels of communication (in person, paper, telephone, online, WhatsApp etc), but the tools you choose might be different.
The need to evaluate the impact of high-quality healthcare information and support was one of the key strategic aims in PIF’s first strategy. It’s about asking the right questions, in the right way, at the right time and we hope this guide will help you do that.
Evaluation and a commitment to ongoing improvement is critical if we are committed to empowering patients to making informed choices about their health and wellbeing and to ensuring we are being inclusive and reaching everyone.