Starting or Strengthening a Drug Bulletin - A Practical Manual
(2005; 165 pages) View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentHow the manual was produced
View the documentAbout ISDB
View the documentExecutive summary
Open this folder and view contents1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Rational use of medicines
Open this folder and view contents3. What are drug bulletins?
Open this folder and view contents4. Defining aims, target and type of bulletin
Open this folder and view contents5. Planning resources
Open this folder and view contents6. Planning bulletin production: schedules and timing
Open this folder and view contents7. The editorial process
Open this folder and view contents8. Reviewing a new drug: is it a therapeutic advance?
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexe to Chapter 8: Evaluating harm
Open this folder and view contents9. Design and production
Open this folder and view contents10. Dissemination
Open this folder and view contents11. Organizational and legal issues
Close this folder12. Evaluating quality and usefulness
View the document12.1 Introduction
View the document12.2 Evaluation brings many benefits
View the document12.3 Three approaches: audit, feedback and impact assessment
View the document12.4 Start with your own evaluation of the bulletin
Open this folder and view contents12.5 Assessing readers' opinions of the bulletin
View the document12.6 Evaluating the impact of the bulletin
View the document12.7 Feedback is achievable and invaluable
View the document12.8 Simple observations can tell a lot
View the document12.9 References
Open this folder and view contents13. Partnership and collaboration
Open this folder and view contents14. Keeping records and creating a memory
Open this folder and view contentsAppendix: Electronic sources of information

12.2 Evaluation brings many benefits

When planning a new bulletin, an assessment of readers’ needs will increase the likelihood of providing useful information (e.g. what type and depth of information is needed, whether local or overseas authors are preferred - see Chapter 4). From this initial assessment, clear objectives for the bulletin can be formulated. Future evaluations can then measure to what extent the objectives are being met and help guide ongoing work planning.

An evaluation of an established bulletin can tell you whether the information published is useful and relevant, and what is needed to improve quality and effectiveness, such as using a new format, providing abstracts, improving indexing, etc. An evaluation can also sometimes establish whether a behavioural change (e.g. a change in prescribing behaviour) has occurred in response to information in the bulletin, and can be used to measure the degree of change. Evaluation can be used to determine if the bulletin is actually being read.

An evaluation can positively reinforce the editorial team's efforts and give assurance that resources, particularly time and money, are being used effectively. It can also demonstrate the value of the bulletin when seeking increased or continued funding. It may be the only way to counter funders who prefer to put their money into activities with more obvious immediate outcomes.

Evaluations are often perceived as difficult, costly and time-consuming. This may be true for large impact assessments (see below), but any bulletin can successfully carry out simple audit and obtain feedback from readers, even if experience and funding are limited. Starting with smaller, simpler tasks will also build the knowledge and confidence needed to undertake more complex evaluations.

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