The Friday Funny: World’s First Placebo Hospital

As evaluators, we all love the notion of evidence-based policy, don’t we? So what could possibly be better than this stunning example – reblogged from Carl Maxim’s site – of how to implement it in practice? Britain’s first hospital built entirely on the power of suggestion is to be opened next week as a cost-effective solution to the rising price of healthcare. The Royal London Placebo is totally fabricated, offers no actual treatments and will be manned entirely by extras from TV shows such as Casualty and Holby City.

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AES keynote Prof Trisha Greenhalgh slams govt leaders’ notions of “scientific” evaluation

A warm and informative welcome this morning from the indigenous Kaurna people was followed by a brilliant keynote from Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Health Care and Director of Healthcare Innovation and Policy Unit in the Centre for Health Sciences at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Trisha talked about “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of evaluating e-health programmes in Britain. She had strong words about “gagging order” clauses in evaluation contracts, as well as government client uses of the “5 D’s” in response to evaluation findings they don’t care for: deny, denigrate, dismiss, distract, distort.

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What constitutes “evidence”? Implications for cutting-edge, tailored treatments, and small sub-populations

In the medical profession in particular, there are some very rigid beliefs about what constitutes good enough “evidence of effectiveness” to justify offering, recommending, allowing patients to try, or even just not vehemently opposing a particular type of treatment for a patient. There are some glimmers of hope in other sectors (e.g. in the Best Evidence Synthesis work here in New Zealand). But there are still three areas where there are very serious challenges in building a credible evidence base given the kinds of constraints and realities surrounding them. They are: (1) cutting-edge treatments; (2) treatments that are by their very nature tailored/individualized rather than standardized across patients or populations; and (3) learning what works for small sub-populations

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The Friday Funny: A review of RCTs on parachute use

We recently stumbled across this all-time classic that Genuine Evaluation readers may well appreciate! Smith, G. C. S. & Pell, J. P. (2003, December). Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 327, 1459-1461.

Read the whole post –> The Friday Funny: A review of RCTs on parachute use

Long-term effects; what to do with them and without them

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Greetings, genuwiners! Thought I’d toss a small puzzle into the stream of discussions to start my visit.

Ideally, almost all program evaluations need to include a long term follow up, but almost none of the clients can wait for long-term results, so we rarely have the chance to provide one of these. This means

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