Phases of HIA 4. Reporting/evaluation
The final phase of HIA is reporting and evaluation. Not all HIAs are evaluated. Once a report is produce, HIA teams often move on to different tasks. Although competing priorities and the availability of funding may make it difficult to evaluate an HIA, this can provide valuable guidance for future HIAs, both for the HIA team that conducted the HIA and for others interested in conducting similar HIAs.
Providing a coherent, usable synthesis of the findings of an HIA and the methods used is essential for informing the decision-making process. An HIA report should present information about potential health impacts, recommendations for minimizing harm and maximizing benefits, as well as the methods, evidence and assumptions upon which these conclusions are based. It is standard HIA practice to make a draft report available for review by technical experts, pertinent agencies and stakeholders, then to revise this draft prior to release of a final report.
To facilitate understanding and utilization by diverse groups of stakeholders, it is often useful to produce different summaries of the HIA for different audiences. These summaries may be written, a presentation or in some electronic media.
Following release of the HIA, follow-up evaluation will help provide lessons for future HIAs. Evaluations are usually categorized as process, impact or outcome evaluations.
Process evaluation: assessment of how the HIA process was carried out, who was involved, and how smoothly the assessment proceeded. Process evaluations aim to identify lessons learned from the present HIA process to assist in future assessments. An evaluation plan should be identified prior to actually beginning the HIA.
According to the European Policy Health Impact Assessment, some questions to consider in process evaluation include:
- To what extent was the delivery of inputs consistent with what was originally planned?
- To what extent were the planned HIA outputs achieved?
- How much time was spent on HIA and by whom?
- What were the associated financial costs?
- Were vulnerable groups or their representatives involved with HIA?
- Was routine data on vulnerable groups readily available and accessible?
- Did the impacts identify the differential distribution across different population groups, not just impact on vulnerable groups?
- Did recommendations include actions to address any differential distribution of impacts?
- Impact evaluation: Tracking whether the recommendations made were implemented by the decision-makers. If not, why not?
- Outcome evaluations: Assessment of whether the anticipated positive effects on health, wellbeing and equity were enhanced and the negative effects minimized. If not, why not, and how can plans be further adapted?