Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development Strategy

Department of Health, Australian Government

In association with Robyn Considine, Director, Consan Consulting evaluated Phase 3 of the Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development (PHCRED) Strategy. The PHCRED Strategy was established by the Australian Government in 2000 and was focused on improvement to patient outcomes through better primary health care systems, services and practice. Phase 3 of the PHCRED Strategy (2010-2014) moved towards a priority-driven approach with a particular focus on primary health care systems research. The strategic goals and objectives of Phase 3 of PHCRED Strategy (2010-2014) and its individual elements were the focus of the evaluation, while taking into account the goals, underlying arrangements and outcomes of the previous two phases of PHCRED 2000-2010.

The major focus of the evaluation was to assess:

  • the effectiveness and efficiency of the Strategy and its individual components
  • the appropriateness of the Strategy and its individual components in terms of taking into account the recommendations from the evaluation of Phase Two, and in meeting current and potential future needs, and
  • opportunities for possible future improvements to the Strategy, and/or alternative options to the Strategy.

A number of key evaluation questions were identified against a program logic / outcomes hierarchy developed to reflect the expected outcomes of the PHCRED Strategy. A review of the literature was undertaken with a focus on evidence and international models of PHC research, and consultation with international PHC research experts. The qualitative methods were complemented by the collection of quantitative data about primary health care research metrics, and surveys of researchers and policy makers. Perceptions from the various stakeholder groups consulted about the factors which supported or impeded the implementation of the Strategy, its impact and future added depth to the evaluation in assessing whether the Strategy was meeting its intended aims and objectives. Assessment of the barriers and enablers to the effective implementation of Phase 3, areas for improvement and the evidence base for future options for the Strategy were taken into consideration through the range of methods of data collection and analysis.