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What is the Framework for Measuring Impact?
The Framework for Measuring Impact is a user-friendly web-based framework to help allied health professionals, and others, measure the impact of their practice.  The Framework can be used both by individual clinicians and service managers who are looking for the most appropriate outcome measure and other methods to measure the impact of their work. The NHSScotland Quality Strategy (2010) identifies person centred care, effectiveness and efficiency as three key quality drivers for improving care and treatment. The Framework guides users in the selection and use of appropriate outcome measures in these key areas, ensuring that users are collecting outcome information that will both support them in their practice, and provide meaningful information to demonstrate the impact of their practice to others.

Why measure outcomes?
Increasingly, clinicians and services are being asked to demonstrate the worth and value of their service to others.  This is positive.  Measuring the outcome of your practice helps you to demonstrate that what you are doing makes a difference.  Measuring how patient-centred you are demonstrates, amongst other things, that you are delivering practice in a meaningful way.  And measuring how efficient you are demonstrates that you are mindful of delivering the highest quality of practice in the quickest and most cost efficient manner as possible. Being clearly able to report on each of these components is of ever increasing importance – both in terms of maintaining valuable services and in terms of ensuring that the highest level of service is being delivered to the people that matter, your clients.

The benefits of using the Framework for Measuring Impact
Measuring impact is nothing new, indeed it has been talked about by health care professionals for at least 20 years.  Why then does it remain so challenging? In the early development stages of the Framework (see Background Information) we identified a number of barriers to the measurement of outcomes.  These included uncertainty of where to find outcome measures; a lack of knowledge and confidence in selecting and using appropriate outcome measures; and finally a lack of awareness of how to best report the findings of outcome measurement to others. The Framework aims to addresses each of these issues by guiding the process of outcome measure selection, use and reporting in practice.

The Framework aims to be as widely applicable as possible. In each of the three domains we have selected a few measures that we feel have broad applicability, and will be useful at a clinical and service level. The outcome measures that we recommend have been identified and selected through a rigorous and lengthy process of evaluation, which is detailed in the Background Information section.  Measures have been selected based on cost, usefulness, and feasibility of use. The Framework does not provide profession or condition specific outcome measures.  We do, however, provide guidance on how to select and report condition or profession specific outcome measures within the Framework

The Framework has six stages.  These stages are: Before You Start, Identification, Considering Options, Implementation Process, Reporting Outcomes, and Next Steps.  For each of these stages the user is given guidance on what to do.  Users are not left to ‘work things out for themselves.’  In addition, where you would like to use one of the measures we suggest, the outcome measure is either provided or is linked to for ease of access.  Where possible we have also provided both data collection sheets for these measures which automatically calculate scores for your data and templates which can be used to report your data.

The Framework is not static, and we hope to develop its content over time.

Another useful feature of the Framework is a discussion board for you to share your practice with others (how your service is measuring impact in practice, what measures it’s chosen, the joys and challenges…  It’s also a place for you to seek help from other services who have perhaps already done what you would like to in a similar context).