Monitoring & Evaluation
Monitoring & Evaluation is a key component or any mHealth or Access-to-Medicine program, and it should ideally be built into the program from the very outset. M&E enables program managers and sponsors to:
- Keep track of activities taking place as part of the program/intervention
- Identify performance gaps and take corrective action
- Improve the quality & effectiveness of programs/interventions
- Assess implementation of the program
- Learn lessons from the program, for next time
M&E is not normally a stand-alone; it typically operates side-by-side with the main activities of the program. Its key enabler is data, and particularly for Monitoring, that data must come from the activities of the program itself.
Monitoring and Evaluation play slightly different roles in the program:
- Monitoring is a periodic recurring task that has the objective of improving project design and functioning, while the project is still running. It involves data collection and analysis on an ongoing basis which are normally tightly coupled with the program activities. It provides indications of progress and achievement of goals at regular intervals, and measures project outputs.
- Evaluation may build on monitoring, but will often involve data from other independent sources, and is the systematic collection and analysis of data to assess the conceptualization, design, implementation, and utility of programs. It requires data collection at multiple points in order to demonstrate change (as a minimum at the to establish a baseline at the beginning and again at the end). Evaluation takes place within a slightly longer timeframe than Monitoring and it serves to inform the design of future projects.
At Clientelis, we don’t seek to impose any particular M&E framework on our customers, however we can help conceptualise and implement one where there isn’t any, and can work with you to implement your existing framework where guidelines exist. The basic points to consider are as follows:
- Goals & Objectives: At the very outset of the program, when the goals and objectives are being set, it is time to start thinking about how it it going to be monitored and evaluated. The indicators chosen must align with the goals and objectives of the program.
- Project definition: As the project definition and implementation phase is taking placem the M&E Indicators must be defined. This will have an impact on the data that is going to be collected during the life of the program.
- Inputs: this encompasses resources that go into developing and implementing the program, whether staff, materials, mobile data etc.
- Outputs are measurable results of program activities such as the number of patients treated, or the adherence rates on a chronic medication.
- Outcomes aim to measure the downstream effects of the mHealth or Access-to-Medicine program, such as changes in behaviour, reduced transmission rates etc.
- Impacts measure the long-term, cumulative effect of programs or interventions over time on what they ultimately aim to change, such as a change in HIV infection, AIDS-related morbidity and mortality.
M&E is not exclusive to the healthcare sector; it is be an important element to have in any program or commercial enterprise. Successful M&E efforts can also be implemented with data gathered directly from customers/patients, if they see benefit in participating (for example through a customer app).