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Stage 5 Reporting Outcomes

Reporting the findings of an evaluation is extremely important.  It allows you to communicate what you have learned from your evaluation and demonstrate impact.  Reporting your findings not only formalises your own knowledge and learning, but also lets others know what you have done, what lessons can be learned (where relevant), and what action you will be taking.  Your reports should emphasise the importance of your findings and your service and indicate that you are looking to constantly learn and develop from your findings, leading to constant improvement in your service.

Consider developing a ‘reporting strategy’.  Identify who needs to know the information - be proactive about this; consider reporting to line managers, patients, other health services and, importantly, your team. Think about how you will report this information to different stakeholders.  Will you compose written reports for all?  Or hold a seminar and do a presentation to certain groups (this can be good for staff and patients)?  What is feasible in terms of reporting your findings? You don’t need to report all of the information all of the time. Only present information that is relevant or that has been asked for.  Make sure that your reporting strategy can actually be done!  Think about who should be involved in the reporting of your findings and what to present.  The following points should help you with this.

Before you start to write up your findings  you should look back to the notes from Stage 1.  Consider the following:

  • Who is the report for?  This is crucial! Busy Directors may only have time to read a short report of essential information, others may want more detail.
  • See Stage 1 for a little more detail on this.
  • The way that you report your findings will be different depending on who you are reporting it to.  For example, your team are more likely to want more detailed information about what measures were used and what the findings mean for the service; your manager or Director may want more of an executive summary.  As emphasised in Stage 1, it is vital your know what is wanted of you.
  • The content of your report will also differ depending on who you are presenting it to.  
  • Some people prefer written information and others prefer graphical information.   It is often a good idea to have a mixture of graphs and textual information.  Again, this will depend on how you have been advised to present your findings (if you have asked for clarification, as we recommend) and on which outcome measures you have used.
  • How much information do you need to report?
  • As a rule, keep it brief.
  • If you can’t report the findings in a brief way, include an executive summary detailing the key points of your report (about 1-2 pages max).
  • Your report should contain as much information as is required.  All of the essential information (see below for guidance) and any useful or important supplementary information should be included.

After you have considered these points you can start to write your report.  If you have used one or more of the measures suggested within this Framework, you will have seen that we also included information about the measure and how to report it. You may also want to consider the following points in structuring your report.

1) What was the aim of your project?
a. Clearly state why you were collecting data.  
b. Were you addressing a specific request for information (were you told to collect the data) or was it a local initiative.

Note: You don’t need to give a massive amount of information here, but be clear about why you were collecting the information and what your aim was. The notes that you took in Stage 1 of the Framework will help you refresh your memory.

2) Where possible, tie your study’s purpose into a strategic aim
a. For example if you are measuring person centeredness, effectiveness or efficiency, point this out and how it ties into a national or local strategy.  This will strengthen your report in terms of relevance to policy.

3) Now onto the main body of  the report
a. See reporting guidance if you have used a measure listed within the Framework.
b. Give a brief statement saying what you measured– so person centeredness, effectiveness, or efficiency (see Stages 2 and 3 of the Framework if you are not sure).
c. Say what measure you used.  Use Stage 4 to give a very brief description of the measure (a few sentences max. should be enough in most cases).
d. Report how many staff and patients were involved in the data collection, and how you went about collecting the data.  Don’t get bogged down in the finer details, though.  It is the findings that are most important in the reporting stage, not the process.
e. Report your findings.  Again, see Stage 4’s individual measure guidance.  You should include what your findings were, and also what they mean.   Give some indication about what the implications of the findings are – is the service doing well?  Could it improve?
f. Consider using graphs to present your findings where you can.  Graphs are easier to interpret than tables and are less straining than a large passage of detailed text. But only use them if they are meaningful and if the add to the report.
g. Consider using anonymised patient quotes to give your report a personal touch – however, be cautious and don’t over-use these.  They should supplement your findings, not be the focus of your findings.

4) The ‘so what’ of your findings! This step is really important, and it is what people are interested in.
a. You have reported what you did, why you did it, what your findings were, and what they mean.  Now you should say what you are going to do. Will you integrate your findings into practice?  Communicate with other services to improve patient care?  Implement an improvement cycle in your own service?  How do you plan to do this?
b. Even though this may seem like a separate issue, you should still report your plans in some way.  This demonstrates that you are committed to constant improvement and that you are thinking of the next steps for the service, not just about what is happening now.
c. The next stage in the Framework will help you consider these ‘next step’ options.

Additional Reading: The Picker Institute’s 'Using Patient Feedback’ Guidelines (2009) has an excellent section on engaging with the public and patients that can help you to disseminate your findings to a wider audience.

Click here to read the key points from this stage.

Click here to go to Stage 6: Next Steps.


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