To design potentially successful quality improvement (QI) interventions, it is crucial to make use of detailed breakdowns of the implementation processes of successful and unsuccessful interventions. Process evaluation can throw light on the mechanisms responsible for the result obtained in the intervention group. It enables researchers and implementers to (1) describe the intervention in detail, (2) check actual exposure to the intervention, and (3) describe the experience of those exposed. This paper presents a framework containing features of QI interventions that might influence success. Attention is paid to features of the target group, the implementers or change agents, the frequency of intervention activities, and features of the information imparted. The framework can be used as a starting point to address all three aspects of process evaluation mentioned above. Process evaluation can be applied to small scale improvement projects, controlled QI studies, and large scale QI programmes; in each case it plays a different role.
- quality improvement
- process evaluation
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