Evaluating Health KM Programs

With any health program, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) efforts should start at the beginning of the program to inform appropriate program design, continue during implementation to monitor activities, and culminate in an evaluation of the program’s outcomes and impact.

This is no different for knowledge management (KM) programs. Systematic approaches to understand the knowledge needs of audiences and to demonstrate effectiveness of KM programs should consist of:

  1. measuring before activity implementation to determine the audience’s knowledge needs, to establish baseline measures, and to guide project design;
  2. measuring during activity implementation to routinely capture what the project has accomplished and who has been reached, and to fine-tune project implementation;
  3. measuring after activity implementation to determine changes in key result areas.

Health information or KM programs are often asked to demonstrate how their products and services “make a difference.” K4Health’s predecessor spearheaded a collective effort among dozens of health organizations to develop a seminal guide that helps information programs answer these types of questions.  

The Guide to Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Management in Global Health Programs provides knowledge managers, program managers, M&E specialists, and health information communicators with a standardized way to evaluate whether their print or electronic products and services meet the requirements needed to make them effective, used, and adapted by health care practitioners and policy makers in the field.

The guide includes the innovative “Conceptual Framework for Monitoring and Evaluating Health Information Products and Services,” developed by our predecessor project with input from other collaborators. The conceptual framework illustrates how improving the reach and usefulness of information products and services facilitates and increases their use—which in turn enhances public health policy and practice. The guide also includes a core list of indicators to measure reach, usefulness, use, and impact of information products and services.

Currently, K4Health is working with other collaborators to revise this guide and the accompanying framework to include and link together a broader set of KM activities, products, and services and the resulting outcomes. We expect to publish the revised guide in July 2013.

An article in the Knowledge Management for Development Journal discusses the theoretical basis of this conceptual framework and the components of the conceptual framework in greater detail, and provides recommendations for its further development.