Evaluation is an important component of service improvement but is not undertaken often enough. Many evaluation guides are available, and the language describing approaches is complex and varied. This variation is a potential barrier to evaluation, particularly in communication between practitioners. A structured literature review of development and evaluation frameworks for healthcare quality improvement was carried out. Four frameworks with diverse methodological perspectives were identified. Partial mapping was possible against an existing structure for health promotion research. When the questions in this framework were adapted for healthcare evaluation, it provided a common structure for the four frameworks. There is significant common ground underpinning these terminological differences between descriptions of evaluation techniques. The common language developed here has potential to ease communication in healthcare evaluation and improvements in quality and safety. It is an aid for practitioners in framing pragmatic evaluation of improvement projects.
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Funding NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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